Letter: The UN must go into East Timor

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The Independent Online
IN THE media coverage of the terrible events unfolding in East Timor, the United Nations and governments of the world present the view that a peace-keeping force cannot be deployed in East Timor without the permission of Indonesia.

This is totally without foundation. The United Nations has never recognised Indonesia's brutal invasion and occupation of East Timor in 1975 and the Security Council has several times called for Indonesia's complete withdrawal. East Timor has never been part of Indonesia and with 76 per cent of East Timorese calling in the August ballot for freedom from Indonesian occupation, the United Nations has every right to send peace-keeping troops there.

The militias are able to cause such terrible bloodshed and destruction because they are totally unchecked. They are, however, relatively few in number and could soon be driven from the streets by a modest force of peace-keeping troops.

Our government intervened in Kosovo to prevent ethnic cleansing: the Prime Minister declared that such behaviour could be no longer tolerated by the international community. What seems to be unfolding in East Timor is an attempt at genocide. Pleas to Indonesia to stop the slaughter are evidently useless. Action is essential now before we, as well as Indonesia, have the blood of the East Timorese people on our hands.

JOHN WALKER

Steeton, West Yorkshire

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