THE TIMOR QUESTION
Saturday 18 September 1999
No they cannot. There may be more than 100,000 East Timorese in West Timor, some living in terrible conditions. Many reports say they are being harassed - or much worse - by militia gangs. Indeed, the force is coming to return peace to a population that is largely no longer in East Timor. However, West Timor is strictly the sovereign soil of Indonesia and the foreign troops have no latitude to cross into it.
How bad have relations become between Indonesia and Australia?
Very bad. For years, Australia was the only nation to recognise Indonesia's hold on East Timor. But Australia renounced that recognition last year and relations have chilled ever since. This week, Jakarta suspended a security pact with Canberra and multi-national corporations began evacuating Australians from Indonesia. Antagonism could rise due to the presence of Australians in the peacekeeping force.
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