Clinton tells Indonesia: stop the killing or become pariah

David Usborne@dusborne
Thursday 09 September 1999 23:02

PRESIDENT BILL Clinton and Tony Blair warned Indonesia yesterday that it faced international isolation if it did not move to end the violence in East Timor and accept a United Nations peace-keeping force.

"If Indonesia does not end the violence, it must invite the international community to assist in restoring security," the US President said. "It would be a pity if the Indonesian recovery were crashed by this, but one way or the other it will be crashed by this if they don't fix it, because there'll be overwhelming public sentiment to stop the international economic co-operation."

Last night, Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, said Britain was prepared to send a company of British soldiers to support any UN peace-keeping mission despite its commitments in Bosnia and Kosovo. The US said it would assist, but was unlikely to provide troops.

In East Timor, there were fresh reports of massacres, destruction and deportations. Catholic priests and nuns fled to the mountains to avoid militia gangs, but at least 14 were murdered as the pro-Jakarta militias went on a bloody rampage in the towns of Baucau and Suai and in the capital, Dili.

The leader of the East Timor rebels, Xanana Gusmao, in the British embassy in Jakarta after being released from custody on Tuesday, learnt that his father was among those killed. He told visiting envoys from the UN Security Council: "I kneel before the Security Council. I kneel before the international community. Please save my people."

At a meeting with the envoys, the Indonesian government again spurned requests to allow the deployment of UN troops in the province. But there were signs that it would heed the global outrage. The evacuation today of UN workers from East Timor now looks likely to be only partial, and President Habibie told the UN envoys they would be allowed to visit Dili tomorrow.

Timor crisis, pages 12 & 13

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