|Subject: CNY: Nobel laureate urges halt to Indonesia
funding over East Timor
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 08:56:06 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
April 29, 1999 Catholic New York
Nobel laureate urges halt to Indonesia funding over East Timor
Nobel laureate José Ramos Horta has called on the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United States and other countries and agencies to halt all funding to Indonesia until after a planned summer balloting takes place on the future of the violence-plagued territory of East Timor.
"We have appealed to the World Bank and IMF to remember that by continuing to release funds to Indonesia, they have become accomplices to the killings in East Timor," he said.
"If the vote takes place by August, if it is free and democratic...certainly all of this aid could be restored. Right now, it would be immoral to provide billions of dollars in funds to Indonesia, which is waging a genocidal war on a defenseless, small country," he said.
Horta, the East Timorese resistance leader who was awarded the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo of Dili, made his remarks April 23 at the United Nations, following an announcement that Indonesia and Portugal had reached an agreement on the parameters for the autonomy vote, which will occur in early August.
Details of the agreement, which followed two days of U.N.-sponsored talks between Indonesia and Portugal, will not be available until it is ratified by both countries in New York on May 5.
The agreement covers voting procedures and security arrangements for the consultation, according to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who headed an earlier press conference with the foreign ministers of Indonesia and Portugal.
Violence has escalated in East Timor since January when Indonesia announced a vote on autonomy in the territory that could clear the way for its long-sought independence from Indonesia.
Militia groups, armed, trained and financed by the Indonesian military, have led attacks throughout the country, including an April 6 incident at a Catholic church in Liquica that killed at least 25 people.
On April 21, leaders of pro-integration and pro-independence factions in East Timor signed a cease-fire agreement April 21 in the presence of East Timorese Bishops Belo and Basilio do Nascimento.
But violence on the island has continued, with a post-cease-fire militia attack reported in Suai, 120 miles outside Dili, the territory's capital. A Reuters story quoted a Catholic priest saying that eight people have been killed, with at least 32 others missing.
Horta, speaking at a separate news conference, accused Indonesia of stirring violence in East Timor with the goal of abandoning the vote on autonomy.
He also criticized the announcement by Indonesia Foreign Minister Ali Alatas that the Indonesian military will provide security for the autonomy vote.
"How can a vote take place in conditions of no fear, no pressure, no terror with the Indonesian army therethe same army that is responsible for the genocide in East Timor. This is the army that is to be used by the U.N. to guarantee peace and security?" he said.
Horta also reiterated a long-standing request for Western nations to stop all supplies of weapons to Indonesia and training of military personnel.
Horta said he advised Xanana Gusmao, the East Timorese guerrilla leader under house arrest in Jakarta, to sign the cease-fire agreement because "we don't want to be accused of not wanting peace."
"And what has happened since? Militia continue to be armed, continue to terrorize the population throughout the country. Indonesian armed forces have launched a series of armed attacks on the resistance around the country," he charged.
As conditions in East Timor continue to deteriorate, world criticism of Indonesia's handling of the island grows.
In an April 21 letter to U.S. Secretary of State William S. Cohen, Newark Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, chairman of the U.S. bishops' international policy committee, urged the U.S. to press Jakarta for a solution to the East Timor question.
"It is the bishops' view that the United States should do far more to exert its influence on Jakarta. For my part, I believe that the United States and its allies have an obligation to convey to Jakarta the unambiguous message that the 'militias' must be disarmed and disbanded," Archbishop McCarrick said.