Subject: AFP: Portuguese PM urges Indonesia to disarm militias
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 23:59:34 EDT

Portuguese PM urges Indonesia to disarm militias

LONDON, Sept 2 (AFP) - Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres demanded Thursday that Indonesia disarm anti-independence militias in East Timor, amid a wave of violence following a vote on the territory's future.

Interviewed by the BBC, Guterres accused Jakarta of arming the militias in order to intimidate the East Timorese into voting against independence.

Portugal is the former colonial master of East Timor, which was invaded by Indonesian forces in 1975 and annexed by Jakarta a year later.

The official result of the referendum Monday will not be known until next week, but Guterres said it was obvious the people of East Timor had voted for independence.

"Indonesia was expecting a different result," he told the BBC, speaking in English.

"I think it is obvious for everybody now that the pro-integration militia have been armed by the Indonesian armed forces and police, and their role was to create an environment of intimidation in the territory to make the people vote for integration."

Now that the people were choosing independence, "they (Indonesia) have to control a militia that were armed by them exactly to avoid this situation".

In a wave of street battles since the referendum, three UN workers and an unknown number of other people have been killed, bringing international calls for action.

Guterres said the "provocations" were the work of a minority. "That minority only has the chance to act with the support, or at least the tolerance, of the Indonesian police or the Indonesian armed forces.

"I am quite sure that if Indonesia clearly decides to stop them, they have all the needs to do that.

"They have proven that in different circumstances, that when they say to them to stop, they stop, so I think know they should disarm them and stop them and this must be done immediately."

Indonesian State Secretary Muladi said Thursday that Jakarta may consider accepting international peacekeepers if the security situation deteriorates, although the United Nations says it has no contingency plans to send in such a force.

But a final settlement, Guterres added, would require much more time "and will only be possible with an international force."

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