|Subject: IPS: Albright: Indon 'Risks Disaster' To
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1999 14:46:17 EDT
U.S. Calls on Indonesia to End Chaos in East Timor
WASHINGTON, Sep 4 (IPS) - The United States told Indonesia Saturday it risked disaster to its reputation if it failed to ensure security in East Timor, where nearly 80 percent of the population wanted independence.
"We look to the people of Indonesia to create a secure environment for the next steps in East Timor's orderly transition (to independence)," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a statement released here, and in Damascus where she was visiting this weekend.
"Indonesia has continuing obligations and must live up to them," Albright said. "To do otherwise risks disaster and will have lasting effects on Indonesia's status in the international community.
"It is now time for cooperation and conciliation, not chaos and bloodshed."
Albright's official statement followed news of continued violence in East Timor where 78.5 percent of more than 450,000 voters opted for independence, rather than autonomy within Indonesia, in a ballot conducted by the United Nations.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and militias loyal to Jakarta have tried to obstruct any move toward full independence.
"The United States congratulates the people of East Timor," Albright said. "In making known your strong desire for independence in this election, you have faced dangers and hardships..."
She praised the United Nations for its role in organizing the vote and deplored the violence that has killed scores of Timorese in the past week - including locally-hired UN staff.
"Let them not have given their lives in vain," Albright said. "Let us all now work together to complete the UN-administered process. We look forward to being a good friend to a new member of the international community."