Habibie declares martial law

  • @dusborne
THE INDONESIAN President, B J Habibie, is to implement martial law in East Timor as the United Nations stepped up its own proposals to deploy a small number of foreign soldiers straight away to help curb violence and protect UN personnel.

The Indonesian emergency measures were revealed earlier today by the Australian government. The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, told reporters: "The Indonesian President has now told us that he is introducing some form of martial law."

The UN's plan will be put to Jakarta tomorrow. The UN was drawing up proposals in New York yesterday in consultation with Australia and New Zealand, the two countries best able to contribute troops.

The deployment of a full international force to East Timor is not scheduled until November, and only after last week's referendum result is endorsed by the full Indonesian parliament.

East Timor in turmoil, page 3; Rupert Cornwell, Review, page 4