AS YET, nobody knows for certain what the people's choice in East Timor is. But whatever that choice - whether autonomy within Indonesia or full independence - we hope Indonesia can prove to be truly helpful in guaranteeing a peaceful and orderly transition to a better East Timor. The moment of truth is near and there is no turning back. Should East Timor opt for independence, Indonesia should, for once, be able to accept reality and bow out with grace and dignity.
HAVING INSISTED on retaining responsibility for East Timor's security for the next few months at least, Indonesia just can't walk away from the problem when it suits its purposes. The success of Monday's ballot and the safety of the East Timorese are in the balance. So, too, is the credibility of a country which claims to have turned its back on the quasi- military dictatorship of the Suharto era. Indonesian troops must do the job they claim to have set out to do in East Timor.
The Japan Times
IT HAS become clear that moral pressure alone will not move the Indonesian government. The UN must be ready to provide peacekeepers after the results are announced - no matter which way they go. Habibie said he would not accept such a force, but the military has said that it would. That is a positive step, but we must be realistic: East Timor will not be a peaceful place. Peacekeepers will have to be peacemakers. That is the only way to deliver on the promise implicit in this week's vote.
Daytona Beach News
DURING THIS delicate transition a heavy responsibility falls on Indonesian President BJ Habibie to rein in the militias. President Clinton already has made this point to Habibie and now he is joined by others who can bring additional pressure when Asian and Pacific leaders gather in a few days in New Zealand. The US should not hesitate to use its big stick - a veto over international loans to Indonesia - should Habibie fail to keep the militias at bay. The democratic voice of the East Timorese should be allowed to prevail and prosper.
THE VOTES of many East Timorese have literally been paid for in the blood of their brothers and sisters. The simple act of voting meant drawing on their deepest reserves of courage. Their reward might be the creation of the world's newest nation.
EAST TIMOR has oil and gas resources. It also has the will of a people who had the courage to vote in spite of intimidation. Left in peace, they may achieve the near-impossible. But in the crucial coming weeks the United Nations must use all its power to provide the protection they are certain to need.
Diario de Noticias
PORTUGAL WAS right to support East Timor for all these years, but our aid was minimal given the scale of the Timorese struggle. The referendum is a great moment; it shows the capacity in man for forgiveness. The Portuguese can now forgive ourselves for what part we played in Timorese history... when we abandoned the island. But there is uncertainty ahead and Portugal must continue to support East Timor in its struggle. (Francisco Azevedo e Silva)
BEFORE THE poll, the performance of the Indonesian military and police in meeting their responsibility for maintaining law and order was seriously deficient, and improved only after severe international criticism. After the poll, Indonesia's responsibility for keeping the peace remains. If, as seems likely, the vote is for independence, the responsibility on Indonesia will be even greater.
Hong Kong Standard
THE RESULTS of the voting are expected in a few days. There is widespread expectation, even among UN observers, that a massive vote for independence is in the offing. This being the case, it would be in everybody's interests for the UN to begin the groundwork for a peace-keeping force. There is not much time left as the force would need to be in place before the Indonesian military withdraws, otherwise there will be a bloodbath - not necessarily caused by the pro-Indonesia militia.Reuse content