|Subject: SMH: Wiranto says troops blameless
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:35:20 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald 25/05/99
Wiranto says troops blameless
By LINDSAY MURDOCH, Herald Correspondent in Jakarta
Indonesia's armed forces commander, General Wiranto, has dismissed reports of troops and police under his control allowing pro-Jakarta militiamen to commit atrocities in East Timor, the country's Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, said yesterday.
Mr Alatas told journalists he visited General Wiranto with copies of stories filed by journalists based in Dili, and said, "Look at what they are writing. Why is it happening?"
Mr Alatas said General Wiranto replied that he did not believe the stories and would check them with his own people.
The United Nations, which is preparing to supervise a vote in August on East Timor's future, demanded yesterday that Indonesia start disarming warring factions in East Timor.
Mr Soli Jehangir Sorabjee, envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said President B.J. Habibie supported a plan for pro- and anti-independence factions to surrender their weapons to Indonesian police under UN supervision. Mr Sorabjee, who met Dr Habibie in Jakarta after a three-day visit to East Timor, said the disarmament plan would be for "the surrender of arms by all East Timorese. Not one faction or another faction - all East Timorese."
Mr Alatas accused journalists reporting from East Timor of embarking on a campaign to "put us in the worst light".
He also revealed his Government had complained to the UN in New York about statements made in East Timor by the UN's official spokesman in Dili, Mr David Wimhurst.
Journalists, diplomats, human rights activists and aid workers in East Timor say there is overwhelming evidence Indonesian security forces have trained and supported pro-Jakarta militia groups responsible for killing up to 100 people in the past two months.
Journalists have reported witnessing Indonesian police and soldiers giving food and water to truckloads of militia as they went on rampages in Dili while hunting independence supporters. But Dr Habibie told the Herald he had no reason to believe a recent statement by Australia's Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, that "rogue elements" in the security forces were backing the militia.
Many countries, including Australia, have complained privately to Indonesia about the inability of the its forces to stop the militia killings.
Mr Alatas said: "I'm not saying that bad things are not happening. They are. And we are trying to overcome it. But both sides are to be blamed. They have been fighting each other. They have been provoking one another. There have been human rights violations."
Mr Alatas said he shared some of the concerns expressed by Mr Basilio Araujo, a pro-Jakarta group spokesman, who in a weekend statement accused Mr Wimhurst of "trying to provoke and accuse one side only". Mr Alatas said he had asked Indonesia's representative at the UN to complain that Mr Wimhurst uses words "that are not in the style of UN statements ... they go much further".
"Depending on who is there in the UN, he can be impartial or he can be less impartial," Mr Alatas said. "The UN are not a bunch of angels."
Indonesia would set up an independent team to investigate human rights violations in Aceh, Justice Minister Muladi said yesterday.