East Timor Crisis: Britain ready to back ban on arms sales
Saturday 11 September 1999
Finnish officials were drafting a document yesterday to be considered by ministers during a meeting of the EU's general affairs council on Monday.
Britain, embarrassed by the latest reports that Hawk jets have again been used in intimidatory flights over East Timor, has committed itself to voting for the embargo unless there is an immediate change in the security situation.
"Robin Cook will be representing Britain and will be backing the embargo," a Foreign Office spokesman said. "The vote has to be unanimous but I cannot see anybody not agreeing to it."
The decision to enforce an embargo marks a big shift in Britain's and Europe's dealings with Indonesia and is the result of a growing sense among Western governments that they must send a strong political message to President B J Habibie. Britain's armstrade with Indonesia is worth more than pounds 100m a year.
The decision follows the lead taken by New Zealand and - much more importantly the United States - to sever military ties with Jakarta, a move taken in light of the failure of the Indonesian military to ensure peace in East Timor.
Diplomats in Brussels promised a "strong political statement" from Monday's meeting, and suggested that the only potential objection to a ban on arms sales would be that it would have no immediate effect on the situation in East Timor. The ban would cover all arms exports, not just new deals.
It is understood that there are nine Hawk jets still to be delivered to Indonesia as part of a contract with British Aerospace dating from 1996.
Oxfam said one of the jets was waiting to be delivered from the factory at Warton, Lancashire, yesterday where it had already been painted in the cream livery of the Indonesian Air Force. It has even been given its official serial number - one of the final steps before being delivered.
"If the Government wants to send a strong political message to Jakarta it is `Stop the delivery'. To do anything else is indefensible," said Justin Forsyth, the charity's policy director.
A spokesman for British Aerospace said: "The export licence for the sale of Hawk aircraft are issued by the UK Government and it is the sole authority to comment."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband deemed less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Ed Miliband deemed less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...