Last week, Mr Alatas said it would be the height of irresponsibility for Indonesia to continue its arms purchases, given the state of the economy. The only exception would be an order for 16 British Hawk aircraft agreed in 1996.
Recently, you reported that taxpayers would have to meet the cost of rescheduling a pounds 250m bill for an earlier purchase of Hawk aircraft as Indonesia could not keep up the payments on its debts ("Britain to meet pounds 250m jets bill", 26 September). Since that bill is roughly equivalent to the annual cost of Indonesia's occupation of East Timor (estimated at $1m a day), British taxpayers are indirectly subsidising the occupation.
If the Government wants to make a practical contribution to human rights in Indonesia and East Timor, it should condemn the level of military activity in East Timor and cancel the export licence for the remaining 16 Hawks forthwith.
Tapol, The Indonesia Human Rights Campaign
Thornton Heath, SurreyReuse content