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September 09, 1999 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-09

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24A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 9, 1999


11 . ff I

30,000 East Timorese flee
ongoing chaos in homeland

t Wx

x .


DILI, Indonesia (AP) - Driven by fear,
killings and army gunfire, East Timorese
jammed onto ships and into trucks yesterday as
soldiers patrolled their homeland, trying to keep
it from sinking further into chaos.
With an estimated 30,000 people having fled
the provincial capital in the past few days, the
streets of Dili, the capital, were empty save for
looters, smoldering fires and some pro-
Indonesian militia bands.
Indonesian President B.J. Habibie canceled
plans to attend the APEC summit in New
Zealand, the government announced yesterday.
Leaders of the countries belonging to APEC,
representing Pacific Rim nations, will be meet-
ing in coming days, with the East Timor crisis
expected to be discussed widely.
But State Secretary Muladi said Habibie had
decided not to attend. Muladi, who uses only
one name, denied that Habibie's decision was
motivated by the escalating crisis in East Timor.
A relative calm had reportedly returned to
Dili early yesterday, but reports later said resi-
dents were still fleeing from across the territory.
U.N. officials said staff members were able to
leave; their besieged compound and drive
around the city to assess damage for the first
time since Sunday.
"We are not intending any more evacuations.

We plan to keep our people there," U.N.
spokesperson David Wimhurst said from
Darwin, Australia, where many staff members
have evacuated.
Despite the improvement, the situation
remained tense with sporadic gunfire heard
throughout the night, though far less than in
previous days, Wimhurst said.
On Tuesday, officials from the World Bank to
the White House to the Vatican urged a halt to
the shooting rampages and terror that erupted
last week when East Timorese voted to break
away from Indonesia.
While leaders from East Timor, Australia,
New Zealand and other nations pushed harder
for an international peacekeeping force to inter-
vene, the U.N. Security Council said Tuesday
such talk was premature. Council members said
first they wanted to hear back from five U.N.
ambassadors sent to Indonesia to persuade
Habibie to rein in his military - said by wit-
nesses to be orchestrating the carnage along
with anti-independence militias.
The high-level U.N. delegation arrived yes-
terday in Jakarta, seeking Indonesian guaran-
tees it would restore order in the embattled
province and saying the international communi-
ty should be more involved there.
"We hope that martial law will work, but of

course it would be more useful and beneficial if
we had the rest of the international community
participate in East Timor," said Ambassador
Martin Andjaba of Namibia, who is leading the
The Clinton Administration said the group
would assess whether Indonesians are willing
and capable of providing security.
"Once they've made a judgment on that ...
we will, as will many countries, take a look at
whether we participate," said White House
press secretary Joe Lockhart.
The State Department sounded more fore-
"Many have been killed. Indonesian military
and police forces have allowed and in some
cases participated in these abuses," said
spokesperson James Rubin, adding U.S.-
Indonesian relations depended upon Indonesia
quelling the violence and supporting the results
of the U.N.-administered referendum.
The increasingly powerless Indonesian gov-
ernment imposed martial law, which includes
the authority to search without warrants, a cur-
few to keep people off the streets and "the
shooting on sight of people who go against the
curfew," said Foreign Minister Ali Alatas. The
restrictions went into effect Tuesday.
One election observer said she overheard

4 \4 .

AP Photo
Indonesian protesters burn an Australian flag at the Australian embassy yesterday. Anti-Australian and
United Nations protests continue as protesters blame the current unrest in East Timor on interference
by foreign nations.



The Washington Post
WASHINGTON -The grim-faced
figure of Jose Ramos-Horta, co-win-
ner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize,
arrived in Washington yesterday with
an unwelcome back-to-school mes-
The gist was this: Half a world away
- in a territory that has fewer people
than the city of Boston, in a place that
is partly a relic of the colonial era and
partly the product of a defunct dicta-
torship - the credibility and the
moral authority of the United States =
and United Nations are at stake.
The place is East Timor, a former
Portuguese colony seized by
Indonesia in 1975, which last week
voted overwhelmingly against autono-
my, thus for independence, in a refer-
endum allowed by Indonesia and con-
ducted by the United Nations. Ever
since, militias backed by Indonesian
soldiers have been killing, burning
and looting.
This, said Ramos-Horta, is the lat.
est litmus test ofAmerica's humanitar-
ian impulse to intervene to save inno-
cents abroad.
"What is the West doing - the
West that went to Bosni, that went to
Serbia, bombed Serbia back to the
stone age in the name of human rights,
to prevent ethnic cleansing?" Ramos-
Horta asked at the National Press
Club yesterday.
"The U.N. (and) the international
community said, 'We stand by the
East Timorese. We will not let them
down.' ... And now what is going to
be the fate of the East Timorese?"
The community of civilized nations
was supposed to have shown its mettle
just three months ago with its war to
stop ethnic repression in the Serbian
province of Kosovo. It was, President
Clinton said at the time, a war to show
that the world would act, when possi-
ble, to block crimes against humani4
and bring their perpetrators to justice.
"I think there's an important princi-
ple here that I hope will be now
ip:heid in the future," he said in com-
mens that have been labeled the
Clin.or. Doctr ne. "If the world com-
munit has the power to stop it, we
ought to stop genocide and ethnic
But thee has been no worldwide
crackdown on violators of human
ights. In the Congo, Sierra Leone,
and other places, victims continue to
appeal for foreign intervention. And
the Clinton administration has been
circumspect about the obligation to
intervene without Indonesia's consent.
"The question of East Timor and
Kosovo are not the same," State
Department spokesman James
Rubin said Tuesday. "It doesn't mean
we care less about East Timor tha
we care about Kosovo, but it does
mean that they are different places
with different national interests, dif-
ferent histories, different factors at
play, and people should be very care-
ful before they throw analogies
around ."

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