|Subject: Outraged US senators urge cut off loans,
military aid to Indon
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 19:03:02 EDT
Outraged US senators urge cut off military aid, loans to Indonesia
WASHINGTON, Sept 8 (AFP) - The United States must immediately sever military assistance to Indonesia until Jakarta implements East Timor's August 30 vote for independence, several US senators said on introducing a bill to that effect Wednesday.
"I am outraged at what is going on in East Timor today," said Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, principal author of a bill that would cut off such assistance and require Washington to oppose any international loans to Indonesia.
"The Indonesian government clearly has not lived up to its commitment to maintain security, and in fact is openly supporting the militia violence," added Feingold, whose bill drew support from several other Democratic senators.
"The brutal murder of men and women in East Timor has to stop ... the world community is watching," warned Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, who co-sponsored the bill.
Meanwhile, East Timor activist Jose Ramos-Horta met with individual lawmakers, warning at each stop that failure to take steps to quell the violence would make Washington and the United Nations complicit with genocide orchestrated by Jakarta.
If no UN forces are sent to the territory to restore order, "you will be witnessing and the United Nations will be accomplices to yet a new genocide," he warned, comparing the violence in East Timor with ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and the Holocaust.
After meeting with the Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy told reporters that support for the bill among his colleagues was rising and that he would telephone President Bill Clinton to urge prompt action.
Military assistance and international aid "must stop right now" because that's the only the Indonesian military, who "aren't going to follow the rules" unless compelled to do so, said Leahy, who co-sponsored Feingold's bill.
But Leahy also rebuked the White House, saying in a statement that Senate action was needed "because our own government has failed to act."
"All the measures in our legislation could be implemented by the Administration on its own, but the Administration continues to issue warnings and do nothing," he charged, adding "there is no justification for delay."
"At stake is an historic opportunity to finally fulfill the wishes of the East Timorese people, and to avoid irreparable harm to the credibility of the United Nations that sponsored the ballot," he said.
The United Nations meanwhile prepared to evacuate its remaining staff from East Timor on Friday amid sustained violence by anti-independence militias and after Indonesia ruled out the deployment of international peacekeepers in the troubled territory.
In New York, the UN Security Council warned Indonesia it would consider "further action" if Jakarta does not quickly improve the security situation in East Timor, the council's president said.
And UN Secretary General Kofi Annan again urged Indonesia to accept an international force in the territory, while saying UN hoped to maintain a token presence in East Timor to protect the 2,000 refugees in its compound the capital Dili.