Monitor: All the News of the World Comment on Indonesia's tentative off er of independence for East Timor

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The Independent Culture
TIMORESE LEADERS have reacted skeptically to Jakarta's surprising change of policy because Indonesian occupation forces have been arming small Timorese militias that support Indonesia's presence in East Timor. Such are the classic divide-and-rule tactics of other colonialist powers, and Timorese leaders worry that Jakarta's broaching of independence for East Timor may be part of a scheme to demonstrate that the price for Timorese independence will be so high that it will not be worth paying.

Boston Globe

NOW EVEN Australia has recognised East Timor's right to self-determination. Given that our government has up to now followed Australia in supporting Indonesia's repression in East Timor, it would be a tragedy if we were to continue on this abhorrent course, becoming Indonesia's only remaining Western supporter. If our government is committed to democracy and human rights, why aren't we leading instead of following Australia?

The Press, New Zealand

INDONESIA TROTTED out the same old line as colonial governments of the past. Look at the roads and the civic buildings constructed under Indonesian rule. Look how much more money Jakarta spent on East Timor than the neglectful former colonial power, Portugal. The argument is based on the superior belief that the people of East Timor are too poor, too culturally backward and too divided to rule themselves. But, in this game of saving face, Indonesia is prepared to lose no more. It is the last card Indonesia has left to play.

Sydney Morning Herald,


AT A TIME when the country faces growing internal turmoil, the realisation that within Indonesia the campaign to integrate East Timor has little public support is vital. Indonesian indications of a change in policy on East Timor are welcome, but it is a welcome tempered by the knowledge that its rule there has been bloody and unforgiving. The East Timorese struggle would seem to be far from over.

The Age, Australia