East Timor Vote: Row over use of Hawks to intimidate voters - World - News - The Independent

East Timor Vote: Row over use of Hawks to intimidate voters

MINISTERS FACED fresh calls last night to freeze arms sales to Indonesia and withdraw the country's invitation to Britain's biggest military fair.

Senior Labour MPs joined Tories, Liberal Democrats and peace campaigners to plead for an urgent review of UK policy after British-made Hawk aircraft were twice used to intimidate separatists during the run-up to East Timor's independence referendum. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, confirmed reports that the jets flew over East Timor during the campaign. The planes were sold to Indonesia on condition that they would not be used for internal repression.

The Government's embarrassment was heightened yesterday with news that the Indonesian regime had been invited to the Defence System Equipment International exhibition in Surrey next month.

The affair illustrates "the dangers of selling arms to dictatorial regimes like the previous regime in Indonesia," said Donald Anderson, the Labour chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

"There should be no arms sales to Indonesia until the democracy is clearly established and ... the referendum result is wholly respected by the Indonesian government," Mr Anderson told BBC Radio 4's The World At One. The Labour MP was backed by John Maples, the Conservative defence spokesman, and the Liberal Democrats' foreign affairs spokesman, Menzies Campbell.

Britain had a strong legal case for revoking the rest of Indonesia's export licence for the Hawks, Mr Campbell said. Only 50 of the 140 jets sold to Indonesia by British Aerospace under the last government have been delivered to date.

Indonesia is guilty of a "flagrant contravention of the purported conditions of sale", which specified that the plane could not be used for internal repression, he said.

However, Nana Sutresla, the Indonesian ambassador in London, insisted that the Hawks were providing "general security" over the eastern part of his country. The planes were sent there after the military received reports that there had been an "illegal over-fly by unidentified planes", he said.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, the Defence Procurement minister, said Britain recognised Indonesia's right to defend itself, as guaranteed by the UN Charter.

Timetable of a Deal

1994: Robin Cook, then shadow Foreign Secretary, attacked Tory policy on arming Indonesia: "Hawk aircraft have been observed on bombing runs in East Timor in most years since 1984."

1996: 16 further Hawk jets licensed for export to Indonesia, with the licence valid for four years.

May 1997: Incoming Labour government announces change in foreign policy, putting "ethical considerations" at its heart.

September 1997: The AEEU, an engineering union and one of Labour's biggest financial backers, says loss of Hawk deal would destroy "trust" between the two countries.

October 1997: The Government says Hawks have not been used in a counter- insurgency role in East Timor.

April 1999: First two Hawks from 1996 deal delivered, with the rest due over the next seven months.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Project Manager (upgrades, rollouts, migrations)

£350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...

Science teachers needed in Cromer

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

IT Administrator - Graduate

£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week