Spring 1998
Congress Bars Use of U.S. Weapons in East Timor

Indonesian Military Training Continues Despite Ban

Constâncio Pinto Joins ETAN Staff

ETAN Hosts Activist Training Conferences

José Ramos-Horta Inspires St. Louis Activists

Estafeta -
Spring 1998
Spring 1997
APCET III Meets in Bangkok
By Charles Scheiner

In early March, I represented ETAN as an observer at the third Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor, held in Bangkok, Thailand. The first two APCET conferences, in the Philippines and Malaysia, were crippled by deportations and harassment by the governments of their hosting countries – weak democracies which caved in to pressure from their huge neighbor to the south. Although Indonesia also leaned on Thailand (and the Thai Prime Minister visited Suharto as we met in Bangkok), Thai civil liberties were somewhat preserved. In spite of continual obtrusive police surveillance, incessant negotiations and occasional threats, nobody was deported and a full day of productive, private discussions was held. Equally importantly, all the East Timorese and Indonesian activists who attended with Indonesian passports returned safely home to Suharto’s dominion.

Although holding the conference was in itself a victory, we accomplished much more. Increased attention will be given to issues and outreach relating to women, Muslims, and Indonesia itself. We initiated a campaign against joint exercises with the Indonesian army, to complement campaigns in Europe and North America against arms sales and military training. In addition to reaffirming support for East Timorese self-determination and the CNRM peace plan, APCET proposed a number of specific UN and international actions which can increase the participation of the East Timorese people in resolving the situation. Finally, APCET clarified that countries on the east side of the Pacific are eligible to join – so ETAN now has a decision to make.

For further information, contact the ETAN National office. APCET has a quarterly newsletter (also called Estafeta); for subscription information, contact them at iidmnl@skyinet.net or Unit 15-D-15, 2nd floor, Casal Bldg, Anonas Road, Project 3, Quezon City, 1102, Philippines. Phone/fax 632-432-2900.