Letter: Decisive pressure

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JOSe RAMOS-HORTA argues for foreign military intervention in East Timor ("It's time to give up on the holidays in Bali", 12 September). Such a view is extremely dangerous. Our government can act decisively, if belatedly, in favour of East Timor: by stopping arms sales to Indonesia, demanding the withdrawal of Indonesian troops and the disarming of pro- Indonesian militia and by immediately recognising East Timor independence, including the government in exile, and by giving massive material aid to East Timor.

An armed military intervention would backfire. At the moment the generals' regime in Jakarta is propped up by Western military and economic interests, so the West could quite easily bring decisive pressure to bear.