Subject: RT: Clinton suspends U.S. military sales to Indonesia
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 21:56:00 +0900
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Saturday September 11, 5:31 am Eastern Time

Clinton suspends U.S. military sales to Indonesia

By Steve Holland

AUCKLAND, Sept 11 (Reuters) - U.S. President Bill Clinton suspended American military sales to Indonesia on Saturday to rachet up the pressure on Jakarta to accept an international peacekeeping force for East Timor.

The White House said the move would likely affect about $100 million in military purchases from the United States and American commercial military suppliers.

``Today we suspended all military sales, and continue to work to try to persuade the Indonesians to support the United Nations' operation to go in and help to end the violence and secure the safety of the people there,'' Clinton said during a picture-taking session with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

Mike Hammer, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said $2.5 million in pending direct government-to-government purchases had been stopped, and $40 million in direct commercial sales.

He said a portion of about $400 million in direct U.S. commercial military sales would also be stopped, bringing the total to about $100 million in suspended sales.

Indonesia has so far refused to accept growing international pressure to accept a U.N. force to go into East Timor and quell violence by pro-Jakarta militias who have been on a killing rampage in the wake of an August 30 referendum in which the people of East Timor.

General Henry Shelton, chairman of the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged Indonesian military chief of staff General Wiranto anew on Saturday in a phone conversation to intervene to stop the militias or else accept a U.N. force, said Sandy Berger, Clinton's national security adviser.

``I think the United Nations will support such an endeavour if the Indonesians will request it,'' Clinton said. ``And I think it is imperative that they do so. And I think we're making headway.''

Clinton predicted there could be some movement toward that goal ``in the next couple of days,'' but Berger quickly played down Clinton's optimism.

He said Clinton's comment was based on ``statements made publicly and privately from various Indonesian officials,'' pointing out that Wiranto had said he might accept a U.N. deployment. He said international pressure being brought to bear on Indonesia might also be softening Jakarta.

But he said the situation on the ground in East Timor continued to be ``not terribly encouraging.'' He said ``the ultimate test'' is whether Indonesia is ready to act promptly to gain control of the situation.

``The private and public statements are useful, but we also have heard them before,'' he said.

Clinton is due to meet East Timorese resistance leader Jose Ramos-Horta on Monday.

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