|Subject: RT: Ramos-Horta Demands Sanctions Over East
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 10:28:13 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Ramos-Horta Demands Sanctions Over East Timor
01:01 a.m. Apr 20, 1999 Eastern
By Andrew Quinn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta Monday demanded international sanctions on Indonesia, which he said had turned a blind eye to efforts by hard-line military leaders to flame violence in East Timor.
``I have always from the very beginning expressed my skepticism about the promises made by Jakarta to want to leave East Timor peacefully,'' Ramos-Horta said after weekend violence in the embattled province claimed as many as 30 lives.
``Tragically, I have been confirmed right in my skepticism. The violence in East Timor is entirely orchestrated by hard-liners in the Indonesian military.
``The only way to stop it is if countries like Australia, the United States and European countries begin to consider economic, financial sanctions (on Indonesia) and to terminate all current military training programs, joint military exercises, and weapons deliveries.''
Ramos-Horta, who lives in exile in Lisbon and Sydney, was speaking by telephone from Chico, Calif., a stop on a U.S. speaking tour. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 along with East Timor Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo for seeking to bring peace to the disputed Indonesian territory.
Ramos-Horta said the outbreak of violence in East Timor was part of an attempt by some Indonesian military officials to destabilize the region ahead of a scheduled July vote in which East Timorese will be asked whether they back an autonomy offer from Jakarta.
If autonomy is rejected, as is widely expected, July's vote is expected to lead to independence for East Timor, a former Portuguese colony which Indonesia invaded in 1975 and annexed in 1976 in a move not recognized by the United Nations.
The prospect of independence has put loyalist militias on an avowed war footing. Saturday, up to 30 people died when loyalists rampaged through the East Timor capital, Dili, after a rally at which a militia leader urged the cleansing of independence supporters. Another person died in a small clash Sunday.
Ramos-Horta said the fresh bloodshed should speed the planned deployment of U.N. troops in the region, a suggestion already rejected by Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) commander General Wiranto.
``I don't see how the U.N. and the member countries can continue avoiding facing this issue,'' Ramos-Horta said.
``In doing so, the U.N. will be blamed for the loss of life in East Timor as it was blamed for the loss of life in Rwanda for having failed to intervene early enough.''
He said that Australia and New Zealand should immediately be tapped to lead a peacekeeping force for East Timor which would remain in place throughout the run-up to the vote.
Ramos-Horta dismissed suggestions that the violence in East Timor in any way reflected divergent opinions among East Timorese themselves about the future of their homeland.
Instead, he said military officials in Jakarta were using directed paramilitary strikes to create the impression of local civil unrest.
``It is not the Timorese killing each other. It is not a civil war in East Timor. It is all entirely orchestrated by the Indonesian army, a foreign army, which is using a small group of bandits to target the civilian population, women and children.''
Ramos-Horta said he was hopeful that talks between Indonesia and Portugal in New York Thursday would result in new pressure on Jakarta to stop the violence, which has drawn statements of dismay from the United States and New Zealand and prompted emergency talks between Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Indonesian President B.J. Habibie.