Subject: AFP: Indonesia accepts Timor ballot result: president
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1999 00:11:17 EDT

Indonesia accepts Timor ballot result: president

JAKARTA, Sept 4 (AFP) - Indonesian President B.J. Habibie on Saturday expressed his government's acceptance of East Timor's overwhelming vote for independence.

"I state that the government of the Republic of Indonesia respects and accepts the choice of the people of East Timor," Habibie said in a televised statement broadcast nationwide.

He said the August 30 ballot in East Timor had reflected "the conscience of our brothers and sisters in East Timor."

Habibie ordered the Indonesian military and police to act firmly in ensuring security in East Timor where pro-Indonesian militiamen have rampaged unchecked in murderous violence.

"As the highest commander, I instruct the commander of the TNI (the Indonesian armed forces) and the head of the police of the Republic of Indonesia to uphold law, security, safety and public order," he said.

He ordered them to take "all steps" within their authority to safeguard security in East Timor.

"I also instruct the entire ranks of the Indonesian armed forces to take firm action against all sides who attempt at sullying the pride of the nation, undermine the authority of the government and security and public order."

The results of the ballot, announced simultaneously in the East Timorese capital Dili and at the United Nations in New York, showed that 78.5 percent of eligible East Timorese had rejected Indonesia's autonomy offer.

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