Monitor: Referendum in East Timor

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International anticipation of the independence referendum in the Indonesian colony

The Melbourne Age

Australia

AFTER 25 years of occupation by Indonesia and the deaths of tens of thousands of East Timorese, as a people they are no closer to a peaceful resolution of a conflict that engulfed the territory during the decolonisation process which led to the Indonesian invasion in 1975. The UN and countries such as Australia should monitor closely and, if necessary, act resolutely should the situation in the territory deteriorate after the ballot.

The Nation

Thailand

IT IS clear that with less than a week to go in the historic referendum, the United Nations and the global community have utterly failed the people of East Timor. The UN is adamant that the 30 Aug referendum will go ahead despite mounting violence, even as the campaigning moves into the final few days. Just about everyone is warning that East Timor is a bloodbath waiting to happen. We must heed that warning. In Rwanda the world sat on its hands despite numerous warnings of possible bloodletting. We cannot and must not let it happen again, this time to East Timor.

Los Angeles Times

US

IT WILL weigh heavily on everyone's conscience, not to mention China's world image, if, as happened in the past with East Timor, the United Nations is forced to look the other way while pro-government paramilitary forces intimidate or slaughter East Timor's independence movement. Indonesia is about to become the world's third most popu-lous democracy or its No 1 mess. Either way, it is impossible to ignore.

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