March 30, 1999

Hon. Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General
UN Secretariat
New York, NY  10017

Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

The enclosed videotape, "A Licence to Kill," contains a program broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Company ten days ago. It vividly portrays the paramilitary "militias" in East Timor and their close cooperation with the Indonesian armed forces.

We urge you to watch it before the next round of tripartite talks. Among other things, the program includes comments by Foreign Minister Ali Alatas that diverge strongly from the current reality in East Timor.

We have been concerned by recent statements by your office and by the Indonesian government that disarmament of the paramilitaries and withdrawal of Indonesian soldiers from East Timor are not seen as prerequisites to the "ballot consultation" in which the East Timorese people are to accept or reject Indonesia's offer of autonomy. As this program makes clear, a UN-conducted East Timorese vote in the current atmosphere of terror would be a mockery of everything the United Nations stands for.

We expect that Mr. Vendrell and his team will reach a similar conclusion when they return to New York. But even if they don't, the reality depicted in this program makes it impossible to conduct any meaningful assessment of East Timorese public opinion.

There is an obvious need for outside intervention to stop this escalating violence. We trust that your good offices will find the most effective way to do that.

It would be a tragedy if the solution to the problem of East Timor, which seemed so near at hand following Indonesia's "sea change" in policy, were to drown in yet another torrent of East Timorese blood.

Thank you very much for viewing this tape, and for your continued efforts to resolve East Timor's situation.


Charles Scheiner
U.N. Representative, International Federation for East Timor

Cc: Mr. Tamrat Samuel, Ambassador Antonio Monteiro of Portugal


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