|Subject: AU: Timor vote delay a threat to Jakarta
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 14:41:48 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
The Australian 18 June 99
Timor vote delay a threat to Jakarta
By JOHN ZUBRZYCKI
POSTPONING the UN vote on the future of East Timor would be a major embarrassment for Indonesia, exiled resistance activist and Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta said in Sydney yesterday.
Mr Ramos Horta said he expected UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to announce early next week a postponement of the August 8 referendum because of the continuing climate of "violence, terror and intimidation".
"It is only an embarrassment to the Indonesian side and they should not have any illusion that the UN is going to back off. The UN will stay put until a clean and fair vote takes place in East Timor," Mr Ramos Horta said.
Addressing a press conference at the NSW State Parliament, Mr Ramos Horta warned that any postponement could lead to sanctions being imposed against Indonesia.
"If the violence continues, if Indonesia continues to dishonour that part of the New York agreement (on ensuring security for the referendum), I don't see how the US Congress will not apply sanctions or the World Bank can continue to release funds to Indonesia which everyone knows they are using by the millions to destabilise East Timor."
On Tuesday, the US State Department issued a strongly worded statement criticising the Indonesian Government for its continuing support of pro-Jakarta militias in East Timor.
It also urged the Government to allow Mr Ramos Horta and resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, currently under house arrest in Jakarta, to travel to East Timor.
Mr Ramos Horta said he was still hopeful Indonesia would reverse its opposition to his visit, referring to Foreign Minister Ali Alatas's comments on Wednesday that Indonesia would not issue him a visa.
"I am confident that in the next few weeks common sense will prevail and they will change their minds," he said. "It is not my intention to go to East Timor and embarrass the Indonesian side."
Mr Ramos Horta repeated that he would only delay his return to East Timor if Mr Gusmao was released.
"I am prepared to stay put in Australia, to delay my return to East Timor for better times as long as at least Xanana Gusmao is released and other East Timorese prisoners are released and are allowed to go back to East Timor," he said.