|Subject: RT: Jakarta envoy warns on U.N. Timor
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 08:46:29 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Jakarta envoy warns on U.N. Timor safety 04:49 a.m. Apr 27, 1999 Eastern
By Terry Friel
DILI, East Timor, April 27 (Reuters) - Indonesia's East Timor envoy on Tuesday said pro-Jakarta loyalists would attack any U.N. peace-keeping force deployed in the territory ahead of an August vote on independence.
Jakarta's ambassador-at-large for East Timor, Lopes da Cruz, also defended the loyalist militias, saying they must remain armed to defend villagers against attacks by independence forces.
His comments came as Indonesia's President B.J. Habibie announced in Bali that a U.N. plan for peace in the troubled territory would include sending foreign police as civilian advisers to the former Portuguese territory.
Da Cruz said loyalist militias would view a peace-keeping force as pro-independence ahead of the ballot.
``It will put the pro-integration (forces) in a...not comfortable position -- these people come here to help the (pro-independence groups),'' he told Reuters in an interview.
``They will fight against peace-keeping forces,'' he said. ``We don't need it because the situation is not conducive for that and it will complicate the situation instead of finding a solution.''
Several nations have urged a peace-keeping force to help end spiralling bloodshed ahead of the U.N.-run ballot. Habibie in January reversed 23 years of opposition and said Jakarta may let East Timor go it alone if it rejected his offer of autonomy.
Jakarta and the territory's former colonial ruler, Portugal, have agreed in U.N.-brokered negotiations on an autonomy plan to put to East Timorese on August 8. On Monday, European Union foreign ministers urged the United Nations to send in a peace-keeping force immediately.
``This force must be used to disarm the militias and monitor the withdrawal of Indonesian troops,'' said Zacarias da Costa, East Timor's representative to the EU.
Habibie's policy shift prompted pro-Jakarta militias to step up their bloody campaign to remain within Indonesia.
Analysts and diplomats say an overwhelming majority of East Timorese want independence and would reject the autonomy plan.
Dili-based human rights groups estimate up to 90 people were killed by loyalist militias and the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) in the first three months of this year.
Scores more have died in recent attacks. In the latest, human rights and church officials say up to 100 people were killed by militiamen around the town of Suai, 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Dili, last week.
A church official in the mainly Catholic territory said on Monday the military, which denies any massacre, refused to let church workers travel to Suai to investigate.
Da Cruz also said the militias needed to keep their arms -- a mixture of guns and tribal weapons -- to defend villagers. But he urged all sides to disarm and seek a peaceful solution.
``With weapons, you will not solve the problem because the reality at the present time is that East Timorese people on both sides are trying to kill each other,'' he said.
Da Cruz said the disparate pro-integration groups would form a high-level council this week to act on their behalf, and added the safety of detained guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao could not be guaranteed if he was freed and returned to East Timor.
Gusmao, under house arrest in Jakarta after being jailed following his capture in 1992, is considered by many to be the most likely leader of an autonomous or independent East Timor.