Jose Ramos-Horta, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
WHILE IT is indeed a giant step forward that the Indonesian president has accepted the need for an UN presence, it would be foolhardy to be over-optimistic that the early August vote will be totally violence-free. It might be necessary for the UN to ensure that the Indonesian army stays completely out at election time. Even if Indonesian troops don't intervene, their armed presence would be intimidating enough to stultify a free and fair ballot.
Hong Kong Standard, China
IF THE Indonesian military is simply sitting on its hands as East Timor tears itself apart, or promoting that outcome, then clearly the international community must move to restore order. The United Nations must send a substantial team to East Timor to ascertain how best to halt the killings which are now happening on a daily basis. It may be that such a team determines that the only way to end the violence there is through a full-scale UN peacekeeping force. That is against the wishes of Indonesia, but it is the direction in which events in East Timor are heading.
BEFORE ALL hope of a peaceful, negotiated transition in East Timor is undermined, an international presence needs to be placed in the territory to oversee the vote. This is made essential by Indonesia's flagrant neglect of its responsibility to provide law and order. The Washington PostReuse content