A useful start could be made by acknowledging that Britain and the United States bear a special responsibility for the Indonesian tragedy. Suharto's invasion of the independent territory and the massacres that followed were sanctioned by the West and the massacres that followed were sanctioned by the West.
Britain is the generals' most generous arms supplier. They would suffer if they were subject to an arms embargo, but for that to happen New Labour must drop the pretence that the weapons it sells to Jakarta are not used in internal repression.
NOW THAT the communist threat in Asia has receded, why are the Indonesians so jumpy about conceding independence to Timor? The answer must surely be in the precedent it would set... Irian Jaya, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan now have their separatist movements, which will draw encouragement from Timorese success in breaking away from Jakarta and Javanese domination. If the 27th province can break away, why not the 5th or the 17th? Whether this will be beneficial... remains to be seen. (Anthony Daniels)
The Sunday Telegraph
SO WHAT goes on? With atrocities in East Timor mounting, the foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, says he sees no reason why Indonesia cannot buy certain armaments in Britain. He is promptly attacked from the left, predictably and in our view correctly, but also from the right which reeks with hypocrisy and inconsistency. The Tories and their friends in the press, who have never believed in an ethical foreign policy, now excoriate Mr Cook for failing to live up to one.
The Independent on SundayReuse content