World Media on East Timor, September 7, 1999

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NAPSNet Special Report

Recommended Citation

summaries of selected items., "World Media on East Timor, September 7, 1999", NAPSNet Special Reports, September 07, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-special-reports/world-media-on-east-timor-september-7-1999/

Tuesday, September 7, 1999, from Berkeley, California, USA

The United States Information Agency (USIA) distributed the 
following digest of international media reports on the violence 
in East Timor.  The digest includes items on PRC-Taiwan tensions, 
the expected DPRK missile test, and other regional security 
issues.  The digest is comprised of an overall summary followed 
by summaries of selected items.

*****

EAST TIMOR:  'A NIGHTMARE THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED'

The weekend's events in the East Timorese capital of Dili and 
elsewhere in the province--where bands of armed, pro-Jakarta 
militias have rampaged for four straight days following the 
announcement Friday of last week's referendum on autonomy--
provoked an outpouring of editorials from nearly all quarters of 
the globe.  Indonesian opinion aside, editorialists in all 
regions placed the blame for the killings of pro-independence 
Timorese firmly on the Indonesian government, which, they held, 
had done nothing to "rein in" the militias.  In debating what 
steps to take next, the overwhelming majority of commentators 
favored the deployment, "sooner, rather than later," of an armed 
UN peacekeeping force to East Timor.  A few, including writers in 
Hong Kong, New Zealand and Thailand, also advocated the 
suspension of World Bank and IMF assistance to Jakarta in order 
to force the Indonesian government "to honor its many pledges to 
maintain order and let East Timor have the freedom it chooses."  
A number of dailies--mostly in Europe--drew parallels between 
East Timor and Kosovo, and feared that the intervention of UN or 
other peacekeeping forces might be too late to prevent "genocide 
behind closed doors" and a spiraling civil war on the island.  
Following are highlights in the commentary:

VIEWS FROM INDONESIA:  Nearly all major Indonesian dailies 
weighed in with their opinions on East Timor.  A fair number 
reacted defensively to the "outside world's" insistence that the 
Indonesian government should live up to its commitments to 
maintain security in East Timor.  Leading, independent Kompas, on 
the other hand, noted grudgingly that, "however galling such a 
blase stance may be," the Indonesian government should "do its 
best" to restore order in the territory, adding: "We should not 
forget that it was we who opened [the door]" to independence for 
East Timor.  In contrast, independent Media Indonesia, pro-
government, Islamic-oriented Pelita and Muslim intellectual 
Republika, railed against "foreign interference" and criticism, 
and judged that such forces were intent on "thwarting" Indonesian 
President Habibie.  The leading, independent Jakarta Post stood 
alone in congratulating the East Timorese for their "courage" and 
"perseverance," and observed that "a free...and democratic East 
Timor" could make "a valuable contribution to the progress of the 
[Asia-Pacific] region."

SUPPORT FOR UN INTERVENTION:  Arguing that if the international 
community delays too long, the "brutal cleansing of East Timor 
will have finished," editorial upon editorial called for the 
deployment of an armed UN peacekeeping force to maintain order in 
the province.  As one German paper put it:  "The determined and 
cruel way that the armed militia is slaughtering supporters of 
independence in East Timor shows that they are in a hurry to 
resolve the conflict on their terms before the UN or other 
international organizations can respond."  Dailies in Australia 
likewise stressed that "every hour of delay...is being measured 
in innocent lives," and urged the "immediate" stationing in East 
Timor of a "multinational security force...with or without the 
facade of a joint operation" with Indonesian security forces.  
Observers in Brussels and Bangkok lamented the "lack of U.S. 
leadership" on East Timor, but another Bangkok writer would not 
rule out the intervention of a U.S. "rapid deployment force" in 
East Timor. 

EDITOR:  Kathleen J. Brahney

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This survey is based on 57 reports from 22 
countries, August 4 - 7.  The following editorial excerpts are 
grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from 
the most recent date.

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

INDONESIA:  "Order, Security In East Timor Are Our 
Responsibilities"

Leading independent Kompas insisted (9/7): "The UN, its branches, 
and certain countries have little interest in learning the 
details of the complicated situation [in East Timor].  The 
outside world's only interest is that Indonesia be responsible 
for security and order there.  No matter how galling such a blase 
stance may be, we cannot ignore the perceptions of the UN and 
other countries.  We must treat them seriously....  We must do 
our best to restore order and security in East Timor.  We have to 
lead the transition to independence that the East Timorese have 
chosen.  We should not forget that it was we who opened [the 
door] for that option."

"Dili Burning, Let Us Reflect"

Nationalistic Merdeka asked (9/7): "What is happening now that 
the United States and its lackey, Australia, are leaving?  'New 
colonial imperialist' forces conspire to destroy Indonesia's 
unity.  Now East Timor, with a population of less than a million 
people, has been liberated by the UN.  What is so sad is that no 
sooner had the pro-independence victory been announced than Dili 
was afire.  Hundreds died."

"East Timor Free, Complications Await"

Independent Media Indonesia stressed (9/6):  "History will note 
that East Timor is now free.  However, Indonesia is yet to be 
free from many questions.  It would be better to share such 
questions with international institutions.  Enjoying the fruits 
[in East Timor] also means the UN must deal with their [sticky] 
juices."

"East Timor Opts For Independence"

Financial-oriented Bisnis Indonesia had this view (9/6):  "There 
is no sense crying over spilled milk.  Whatever the Jakarta 
political process holds, we call on the East Timorese to exercise 
restraint, disarm, and begin a peaceful new life.  Both the 
government and the UN are responsible for maintaining security to 
prevent helpless civilians from continuously becoming victims of 
violence."

"Aftermath Of East Timor Referendum"

Ruling Golkar Party's Suara Karya maintained (9/6):  "To carry 
out the difficult responsibility [of maintaining security in East 
Timor], it is important [that Indonesia] cooperate with all 
parties, including the UN and foreign countries, to avoid 
exacerbating the situation."

"The Nation Of 'Timor Leste' (East Timor)"

Independent afternoon Berita Buana pointed out (9/6):  "[Pro-
autonomy] militias increasingly control the eastern part of East 
Timor, raising the prospect of a civil war.  The many calls to 
deploy peacekeeping forces to [East Timor] are thus no surprise.  
But UN spokesman Joachim Huetter has confirmed that there is no 
such UN plan at this point."

"Outcome Of East Timor Referendum"

Pro-government, Islamic-oriented Pelita told its readers (9/6):  
"Sadness is perhaps the proper expression for our reaction to the 
poll giving pro-independence factions victory [in East Timor].  
So be it....  The 'defeat' of Indonesia, and particularly the 
pro-autonomy group, is due more to negative press and foreign 
interference--including by UNAMET personnel.  The foreign--and 
some local--media stressed Indonesia's mistakes rather than its 
positive accomplishments.  All this has compounded foreign 
countries' reasons for pressuring Indonesia.  Yet, we must remain 
committed to accepting the poll results....  Many difficult times 
still await us.  It is not only Indonesia, but all countries that 
have contributed to the state of affairs in East Timor--namely 
Portugal, the UN, Australia and the United States--that have an 
obligation to ensure security there."

"Land Of East Timor Released"

Armed Forces' daily ABRI underscored (9/6):  "Most Indonesians 
are disappointed with the poll results....  Perhaps, however, it 
is the best start for the East Timorese and the best choice for 
Indonesia.  As a country that values human rights and democracy, 
Indonesia can proclaim its superiority before the world.  We did 
not give mere lip service to releasing East Timor.  We did it.  
The United States and Europe, while claiming to be champions of 
democracy, always apply a double standard toward other 
countries."

"New History Of East Timor"

Muslim intellectual Republika asserted (9/6):  "It is ironic that 
advanced countries are now lining up to threaten Indonesia, which 
they regard as incapable of providing security in East Timor and 
in violation of human rights, among other things.  Indonesian 
politicians are awakening after a 'long sleep' during the New 
Order era.  The success of the pro-independence groups provides 
additional ammunition to heighten their barrage toward the 
government.  East Timor is a 'capital infusion' for thwarting 
Habibie, who had initiated a rational international diplomatic 
policy in the reform era."

"Birth Of A Nation"

The leading, independent, English-language Jakarta Post indicated 
(9/6): "Jakarta should realize that even the impression that it 
is assisting the militia or any other group of troublemakers for 
that matter, will hurt its reputation and credibility in the eyes 
of the world with possibly serious consequences for the country.  
As for the people of East Timor and their leaders, who have 
through all these years inspired courage and confidence in their 
fellow countrymen by their perseverance and integrity, our 
sincere congratulations are due.  Whatever Indonesians may feel 
about an independent East Timor, for this country and for this 
region as a whole, the best bet for securing stability and 
prosperity is by helping the elected leaders of the newly 
independent nation to ensure that peace and order are restored 
and maintained.  There can be little doubt that a free, peaceful 
and democratic East Timor can make a valuable contribution to the 
progress of this region."

"East Timor And Our Cruel Illusions"

An editorial in the government-oriented Indonesian Observer 
declared (9/6): "Most refused to accept [the referendum] as the 
genuine wish of the majority of East Timorese, who turned out in 
droves last Monday to make their wish known to the world.  They 
still maintain that the referendum result was the result of an 
international conspiracy against Indonesia....  Indonesia now 
stands accused of dragging its feet when it comes to putting an 
end to the violence and rampage perpetrated by the men of the 
United Front for the Autonomy of East Timor.  This is very bad 
for Indonesia's international reputation."

AUSTRALIA:  "Race Against Genocide"

The liberal Sydney Morning Herald ran (9/7) this front-page 
comment by foreign editor Hamish Macdonald (9/7):   "Every hour 
of delay by Prime Minister John Howard and other responsible 
leaders on the Indonesian military's outrage in East Timor is now 
being measured in innocent lives.  Jakarta should be told it must 
agree immediately to a multinational security force entering Dili 
and securing the streets, with or without the facade of a joint 
operation with the TNI [Indonesian army.]"

"A Time To Show Leadership"

The populist Daily Telegraph judged (9/7):  "It is Australia's 
responsibility to show leadership in the region and do everything 
in its power to stop the killing and allow a progression to full 
independence.  There should be an immediate review of the defense 
and security agreement between Australia and Indonesia which puts 
us in the hypocritical position of training Indonesian military 
that can be deployed in East Timor.  No more sitting on our 
hands:  We abandoned the Timorese once.  Let us not fail them 
now."

"Australia's Choices"

The liberal Melbourne Age featured this op-ed piece (9/7):  "The 
people of East Timor have decided emphatically.  And for that 
decision they are in mortal danger.  Now we must respond on their 
behalf.  Either we lead the push for an immediate peacekeeping 
presence or we risk abandoning the Timorese for a second time."

"Indonesia's East Timor Obligations"

The Brisbane Courier Mail (9/4) had this editorial view, "The 
most pressing need in East Timor is for order to be restored and 
this must begin with the disarming of the pro-Jakarta militia and 
any independence agitators who have been forced to strike back 
against violence.  U.S. Secretary of State Albright and the UN 
leadership have led the international outrage at Indonesia's 
refusal to deal with the street violence--and to stand idly by in 
some instances."

JAPAN:  "Jakarta Must Honor Its Pledge"

An editorial in liberal Mainichi asked (9/7):  "What has the 
Indonesian government done to stop violence of militias against 
pro-independence groups and normalize the situation in East 
Timor?...  President Habibie must immediately order the military 
and police to suppress the militias and normalize the situation 
in Dili.  Jakarta will have to ask the UN to intervene if its 
military cannot restore peace and order."

"Indonesia Must Stop Bloodshed"

Liberal Asahi editorialized (9/7):  "Whether or not Jakarta can 
stop bloodshed would have a profound effect politically and 
diplomatically on its future.  President Habibie and other 
Indonesian leaders will have to take all necessary measures as 
soon as possible to normalize the situation."

HONG KONG:  "Why We Must Act To Prevent New Kosovo"

The independent Hong Kong Standard indicated (9/7): "It is both 
fallacious and facetious for the Indonesian government and, 
especially, its military to keep saying they cannot control the 
militias now rampaging through East Timor.  The truth is that the 
militias are under the control of the armed forces and, in the 
nature of Indonesian culture, will obey if ordered to lay down 
their arms....

"There are ways of getting Indonesia to do what is necessary.  
Withholding IMF funds is one way; Jakarta desperately needs 
financial help.  Threatening to try the leaders for genocide is 
another....  The situation calls for tough measures.  East Timor 
must not be allowed to become another Kosovo."

"Price Of Freedom"

The independent South China Morning Post's editorial stressed 
(9/7):  "Just what motivates the Indonesian government in the 
face of escalating violence in East Timor remains uncertain.  But 
the time has come for others to increase pressure on Jakarta to 
take, for a change, some honest and effective action....  The 
status quo is intolerable.  Other nations are reluctant to 
dispatch their own peacekeepers without an invitation from 
Jakarta.  But they should seek that permission actively and be 
ready to follow through.  Meanwhile, they should tell Jakarta 
that World Bank and other loans are blocked until the government 
honors its many pledges to maintain order and let East Timor have 
the freedom it chose."

"From East Timor See The Double Standard Of The West"

The centrist Hong Kong Daily News commented in its editorial 
(9/7): "Long before the voting, the pro-independence group and 
its opponents in East Timor have showed their determination to 
fight if they lose.  How could the UN not know about it?  In 
other words, the 'upheaval after voting' in East Timor is due to 
the poor deployment of the UN.  The UN cannot shun its 
responsibility....  Indonesia always relies on U.S. support.  In 
order to repay, Indonesia has made its effort in mopping-up 
communists starting from the era of Suharto up till now.  For 
this reason, when Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, the 
United States did not make any noise.  Indonesia is an 'ally' of 
the United States to contain China in the past and at present.  
From the East Timor incident, we can see the ugly face of the 
international politics.  The West has adopted a double standard 
to humanitarian issues."

NEW ZEALAND:  "East Timor Waits"

The top-circulation, moderate New Zealand Herald argued (9/7):  
"Certainly nothing Indonesian leaders are hearing from regional 
capitals will convince them that words of condemnation are likely 
to be backed by action....  An international peace-enforcement 
force, whether we like it or not is what the East Timorese people 
need--not in a month or two, but right now."

"Indonesia's Shame"

Wellington's leading, conservative Dominion said (9/7):   "Mr. 
Habibie's government is seriously undermining Indonesia's 
reputation.  Financial pressures must be added to diplomatic 
effort to head off a developing disaster.  New Zealand 
must...express to Indonesia in the strongest possible terms our 
revulsion over events in East Timor and our dismay over 
Indonesia's indifference."

"Last Chance For Diplomacy"

The South Island's largest circulation, moderate Press indicated 
(9/7): "APEC is a forum to tell Indonesia plainly that its 
permissive pussyfooting in East Timor cannot go on....  None of 
Mr Habibie's problems are an excuse to treat him lightly over 
East Timor.  APEC's members must make clear to him that his 
government's prevarication cannot continue....  If Indonesia 
again refuses to rein in East Timor's rogue elements, the 
international community will have a license to act."

PHILIPPINES:  "UN Force Too Little, Too Late"

Publisher Max Soliven wrote in his column in the third leading 
Philippine Star (9/5):  "The Indonesian government, in a reversal 
of policy, is making noises about permitting UN peacekeeping 
forces to land in Dili, the capital of East Timor, to help 
enforce peace and order.  That offer sounds to me as phony as the 
prospect of a solid gold [Indonesian] rupiah.  If and when the UN 
manages to assemble, equip and dispatch a peacekeeping unit, it 
will be a case of too little, too late.

"Indonesia Must Control Post-Election Turmoil" Rene Espina wrote 
in his column in the largest-circulation Manila Bulletin (9/5):  
"No one would ever believe that [Indonesia] could not stop nor 
disarm most of the pro-Indonesia militias that it created.  Since 
Indonesia is already in the middle of the process of giving East 
Timor independence, they might as well do a good job of it."

SINGAPORE:  "East Timor Needs UN Force--Now"

The pro-government Business Times told its readers (9/7):  
"Jakarta should order its ineffective security forces to leave 
East Timor and invite a UN-backed presence to take up the 
responsibility of maintaining order until the country's highest 
legislative body officially accepts the results of the ballot in 
November....  It is time for President Habibie to show leadership 
on this issue and use all his political influence to fight those 
who seem bent on destroying Indonesia's reputation as a mature 
and responsible regional power."

SOUTH KOREA:  "East Timor's Future"

Readers of conservative Chosun Ilbo saw this editorial (9/6):  
"Security is the most urgent issue facing East Timor, and we 
believe that a UN peacekeeping force is the answer for this.  The 
force needs to be sent there to secure and maintain security at 
least until East Timor gets full independence....   Indonesia's 
role continues to be critical.  So are the roles of the United 
States and other neighboring nations, including New Zealand and 
Australia."

THAILAND:  "UN Must Hurry"

The lead editorial of popular Siam Rath declared (9/7):  "We urge 
the UN Security Council to convene an urgent meeting to reach a 
resolution calling for an immediate deployment of peacekeeping 
troops in East Timor, and the sooner the better."

"Don't Leave Timorese To Mercy Of Militias"

The lead editorial of the independent, English language Nation 
urged (9/6): "Clearly, the UN and the global community can, and 
must, do more.  In this it will have to do without the United 
States.  Given the absence of U.S. leadership, other countries 
must lead.  Here, perhaps Australia can redeem itself."

"A Kosovo In Indonesia"

Pichian Kurathong made these points in elite Matichon (9/4):  
"Don't think an intervention in East Timor by a foreign force is 
far-fetched.  So long as the United States maintains its rapid 
deployment forces in the Pacific, it can always interfere by 
citing the catch-all justification of 'humanitarian reasons.'  
The best way out is for Indonesia to effectively rein in its 
militias and honor the results of the referendum."

"Indonesia Must Be Held Responsible"

The independent, English-language Nation featured this lead 
editorial (9/4):  "Indonesia still has time to demonstrate its 
goodwill.  Its future and its economic recovery could be put in 
jeopardy if the killings continue.  At the very least, the $43 
billion IMF-led rescue program could be further delayed.  It 
would be wise for Jakarta to ensure that the verdict of East 
Timor's voters is respected.  Then and only then will the 
international community come to grips with the huge dilemma that 
the world's fourth-largest country has encountered.  The incoming 
government should not fear that East Timor's independence will 
lead to the destruction of Indonesia's unitary state.  Rather the 
instability and continued bloodshed in East Timor will encourage 
separatist groups in other regions in Aceh or Irian Jaya to go 
their separate ways."

   EUROPE

PORTUGAL:  "No More Time For Timor"

In an editorial in centrist Diario de Noticias, Francisco 
Azevdedo e Silva contended (9/7):  "U.S. Secretary of State 
Madeleine Albright declared yesterday that Indonesia has two 
choices in East Timor:  either put an end to the violence or 
request assistance of the international community.  But if 
Albright waits as long to act on this as it took to bring on this 
public pressure on the government of Indonesia...the brutal 
cleansing of Timor will have finished.  There is a time for 
diplomacy, but it does no good after the moment has arrived in 
which all can see that it will be too late.  Albright knows the 
cunning of the Indonesian clock, and that every minute of 
negotiation is a crime."

"Inferno"

Columnist Jorge Morais emphasized in mass-circulation 24 Horas 
(9/7):  "To imagine the bishop of Dili, in a state of shock, 
having witnessed the serene diocesan headquarters pillaged and 
burned, and the dead bodies of those who had taken refuge there--
this should be enough to shake up any responsible statesman and 
make him obtain, from the UN, an immediate intervention on the 
island.  But now we see, however, how the Clintons of the world 
are more concerned with businesses that give them the money to 
buy cigars."

"Can UNAMET Withdraw?"

In centrist Diario de Noticias Luis Delgado averred (9/7):  "This 
is total madness: it is inconceivable, inhuman, disgraceful.  If 
UNAMET pulls out of Timor...then the UN, the Security Council and 
the secretary general should close up shop...and crawl into a 
hole.  Don't these gentlemen have any shame?...  Who was it that 
asked the Timorese to vote?  Who was it that guaranteed the 
Timorese they were assuming responsibility for the transition?...  
If UNAMET withdraws...then the Secretariat General is ripping up 
the New York accord and assuming responsibility for the genocide 
in Timor."

BRITAIN:  "Indonesia's Shame"

The conservative Times' editorial concluded (9/7):  "Jakarta 
should abide by the logic of its own stated position.  If, as 
Indonesia's police chief blithely claims, the situation in East 
Timor is indeed out of Jakarta's control, and if Indonesia's 
20,000 troops in East Timor really cannot be made to do what they 
pledged when the UN-sponsored referendum was planned in May, then 
Indonesia should gladly accept foreign help to ensure that East 
Timor gets its independence."

"Jakarta Discredited"

The liberal Guardian maintained (9/7):  "The choice for the 
international community is becoming increasingly stark.  Either 
summon up the collective will to intervene with an armed, UN-
mandated peacekeeping force, or be content to witness the 
throttling at birth of the world's newest, democratic nation 
state."

"Peak Of Horror Is Still To Come"

According to an editorial in the centrist Independent (9/7):  
"When the UN pulls its last staffers out of Dili, it will 
represent a treacherous abandonment for the Timorese people.  The 
murders in East Timor are not just the work of mindless mobs.  
These are political killings, and must be acknowledged as such.  
If the Indonesian government wished to stop the massacres, it 
could do so at any time.  The television cameras which can bring 
the drama into our living rooms may be gone, but this is a 
nightmare that cannot be ignored."

FRANCE:  "An Asian Kosovo"

An editorial in left-of-center Le Monde asserted (9/7): "This 
tragedy has the makings of an 'Asian Kosovo,' with the UN 
paralyzed by a Chinese veto....  This is an emergency situation 
in which two countries bear a moral responsibility.  Portugal, 
which abandoned East Timor, and Australia, which recognized the 
annexation of the territory by Jakarta.  One would also be 
tempted to add the United States to the list, for its support of 
Soeharto....  It is up to these nations to create an intervention 
force to keep Indonesia from perpetrating new crimes against 
humanity."

GERMANY:  "Indonesian Military Takes East Timor Hostage"

Marita Tkalek pointed out in centrist Berliner Zeitung (9/7):  
"Not until November will Indonesia's expanded parliament meet to 
elect a new president, who will then form a new parliament.  Only 
then will it be possible to determine the consequences of the 
outcome of the referendum.  But that will be too late for the 
800,000 inhabitants of East Timor.  Their great hope is that a 
peacekeeping force will be deployed, and that the international 
community is ready and willing to show Indonesia, either by 
denying it love or money, that it will not accept the violence in 
East Timor."

"Jakarta Refuses To Respect Referendum"

Centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich concluded (9/7):  "The 
result of the referendum on East Timor's independence should have 
been a reason for joy and hope....  It was the victory of normal 
people, of the disadvantaged, of those without rights--it was the 
stuff of democratic dreams.  But now it seems that the government 
in Jakarta--or the power apparatus there, or parts of it--refuses 
to respect the result of the referendum....  It is the 
responsibility of the international community to see that the 
reluctant Indonesians accept the clear will of the people of East 
Timor."

"Slaughter In East Timor"

Right-of-center Nuernberger Zeitung painted this scenario (9/7):  
"The determined and cruel way that the armed militia is 
slaughtering supporters of independence in East Timor shows that 
they are in a hurry to resolve the conflict on their terms before 
the UN or other international organizations can respond.  Their 
cynical reasoning is simple:  If they are unable to undo the 
referendum, then at least they can decimate the ranks of those 
who voted independence from Indonesia.  That is one way to 
correct the result of the referendum."

 "Brutality In East Timor"

Right-of-center Suedwest Presse of Ulm had this to say (9/7):  
"Is it now East Timor's turn?  In light of the brutal actions of 
the Indonesian terrorist gangs, the international community faces 
a familiar situation: Should the UN intervene militarily to 
prevent the expulsion and murder of the indigenous population, or 
should it close its eyes to it?  If the UN decides to sit and 
watch the murders, it will lose all respect.  Indonesia should be 
subjected to enormous pressure, and the population of East Timor 
should be protected, by UN troops if necessary."

ITALY:  "Intervention?"

Left-leaning, influential La Repubblica noted (9/7):  "Faced with 
the deterioration of the situation in East Timor, the United 
States is not ruling out an intervention by the international 
community.  Yesterday President Clinton called Australian Prime 
Minister Howard and reaffirmed his interest in Canberra's 
proposal to send soldiers to the island....  At least for the 
moment...the UN has decided to send only a high-level diplomatic 
delegation.... In the meantime, Portugal insists that a UN 
peacekeeping force intervene in East Timor....  The Holy See is 
not sitting still, either."

"If The World Looks On"

Pro-DS (leading government party) L'Unita front-paged this 
commentary (9/7) by Giandomenico Picco:  "The nation state has 
never been so challenged in the past ten years.  Now it's East 
Timor's turn....  When will the Indonesian government formally 
validate the vote for independence?  Or can we allow this 
experiment in democracy to be crushed in blood?  Whatever is 
chosen will have its cost."

"An Ethnic Cleansing Against The Catholic People"

Rome's conservative Il Tempo featured this front-page item (9/7) 
by Also Forbice:  "East Timor is now the Kosovo of Indonesia.  A 
country with a population of 800,000, with a Catholic majority, 
has been subjected for years to ferocious ethnic cleansing by 
terrible pro-Indonesian gangs....  Will the international 
community succeed in overcoming difficulties and diplomatic 
embarrassments and intervene along the Kosovo model?  It will not 
be an easy task, notwithstanding the fact that Secretary Albright 
talked about the need for the UN to intervene....  Anyway, we do 
hope that this time the pacifists at home will not spark a new 
anti-American campaign."

SPAIN:  "Terror In East Timor"

Barcelona's centrist La Vanguardia remarked (9/7):  "At this 
point, diplomatic efforts have as their principal objective 
putting pressure on the Indonesian government to accept an 
international peace force to curb the ongoing massacre.  But 
everything would seem to indicate that, in the end, it is the 
Indonesian army, which refuses to accept East Timor's 
independence, that is in control of the situation, and not the 
government in Jakarta."

"Jakarta Cannot Be Trusted To Curb Violence"

Liberal El Pais insisted (9/7):  "Jakarta cannot be trusted to 
curb the escalation of violence, nor will international pressure 
accomplish that end.  The UN Security Council's sending a mission 
of inquiry to Jakarta betrays division and fecklessness rather 
than a willingness to intervene on the UN's part.  In the name of 
human rights, and without the UN's agreement, the international 
community recently intervened in Kosovo.  There have been 200,000 
victims in East Timor since it was taken over by Indonesia 23 
years ago, but Timor is far, far away."

 "East Timor:  Massacre With No Witnesses"

Independent El Mundo judged (9/7):  "The ire of those opposed to 
independence is being directed at those who may be witnesses to 
their crimes.  Journalists and photographers have had to leave 
the country, thereby making impossible the presentation of 
graphic evidence of decapitated bodies lying in the streets and 
guaranteeing the impunity of the paramilitary murderers."

BELGIUM:  "An Expected Bloodbath"

Agnes Gorissen argued in independent Le Soir (9/7):  "Naivete, 
irresponsibility, hypocrisy?  Suddenly, the entire world is 
worried.  What is going on in East Timor is 'unacceptable' and 
'intolerable,' people say.  Jakarta had promised.  This is a 
belated concern faced with a bloodbath which was actually 
predictable since May 5, i.e., since the signing, under UN 
auspices, of an agreement between Indonesia and Portugal on a 
referendum for the self-determination of East Timor.  The former 
Portuguese colony's fate was sealed from the moment Lisbon 
accepted that the security of the ballot, of the territory, and 
of its inhabitants be trusted to Indonesia--the country which 
invaded East Timor in 1975, unilaterally annexed it the next 
year, and has ruled since then under the threat of its bayonets.  
To believe that this deal was going to work--that Jakarta's army 
was going to subdue its own accomplices--was a product of the 
wildest imagination....  Now, at last, the dispatching of a peace 
force is shaping up.  Not under the UN's aegis--the procedure is 
much too slow and the urgency too great.  It could be a force 
consisting of volunteers from a few countries, including 
neighboring Australia, with the UN blessing.  But how many dead, 
wounded, and displaced could we have avoided if we had drawn the 
lesson from the failures in Cambodia or in Rwanda, and if the 
international community had reacted, as NATO did it, although 
belatedly, in Kosovo?"

"Five Years After Rwanda, Timor?"

Asian affairs writer Philippe Paquet opined in conservative 
Catholic La Libre Belgique (9/7):  "Like in Rwanda in 1994, it is 
a genocide behind closed doors which is in the air in East Timor.  
Here as well, the tragedy was predictable--militias have been 
terrorizing the former Portuguese colony for months....  The 
UN...organized a referendum for self-determination for which the 
security conditions were so deplorable that it should have 
failed, had the people of Timor not been so courageous and so 
determined....  The Americans and their Atlantic Allies were 
severely blamed for having bypassed the UN during the Kosovo 
crisis.  But one can witness the same paralysis--or at least a 
similar pathetic passivity--of the UNSC today.  Australia and 
Europe claim that they are ready to intervene but that they do 
not have the authority to do so.  ASEAN...won't take the 
initiative either.  And as far as the United States is concerned, 
it seems to keep a very low profile for a country which trained 
the Indonesian generals.  In the meantime...the UN has put Timor 
to fire and the sword.  Without a prompt reaction, it will have 
the sad privilege of having created the conditions for another 
ethnic cleansing."

CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Timor, A Hard Test For The World"

Leading, right-of-center Mlada Fronta Dnes commented (9/7):  "It 
becomes more and more apparent that the difficult process of 
decolonization of the tormented East Timor will not be carried 
out as peacefully and reasonably as planned by the UN officials.  
The previous feeling of enthusiasm that citizens of a former 
Portuguese colony could, after 24 years of extraordinarily brutal 
Indonesian occupation, freely decide about their future, is now 
replaced by fear.  Fear of the spiraling spread of violence 
unleashed by the pro-Indonesian militia in the region, which 
could lead to genocide and protracted civil war.   The first few 
bloody days after the elections proved above all doubt that 
keeping the peace in Timor cannot be left in the hands of 
Indonesian politicians and army generals....

 "A quick decision must be made on sending peacekeeping forces, 
even against the wishes of Indonesia.  Even then we cannot be 
sure that the forces will come in time, and that the world will 
not be facing another humanitarian catastrophe."

NORWAY:  "Murder In East Timor"

Independent Dagbladet held (9/7):  "While the UN and the 
international community are overburdened with Kosovo and the 
world's other regions of conflict, the process toward an 
independent East Timor has gone completely out of control....  
Right now there is little sense in discussing a UN force in East 
Timor.  It is Indonesia that in the first instance must stop the 
bloodbath, not least because the terror is a violent threat 
against the country's own move to a more democratic rule."

"Planned Chaos In East Timor"

Foreign affairs editor Erik Sagflaat commented in Social 
Democratic Dagsavisen Arbeiderbladet (9/7):  "The international 
community bears a great responsibility for what will happen in 
East Timor.  Indonesia must be made to realize that the price of 
continuing to let the militia play havoc freely will be very 
high.  If they understand that continued attacks will hit them 
hard economically, it may make the very money-conscious 
Indonesian officers think twice.  If it's still no use, it will 
be necessary for the UN Security Council to adopt sending an 
international force to East Timor to create the necessary 
security for the population."

POLAND:  "Perfidious Scenario"

Stanislaw Grzymski offered this commentary in the centrist 
Rzeczpospolita (9/7): "Almost 80 percent of the Timorese chose 
independence even though Jakarta had been sending warning signals 
to the pro-independence proponents:  If you want independence, 
then you will have it, but you will be totally dependent on 
yourselves, without cadres and financial means; we are washing 
our hands of it.  Despite this, the people of Timor gave a firm 
response:  yes to independence, no to autonomy.  But then another 
scenario was triggered, one that is perfidious and cruel.  After 
the events of Bosnia and Kosovo, decision-makers in Jakarta know 
that the United Nations is not very efficient and that there will 
be no NATO intervention.  Indonesia is obviously trying to keep 
East Timor.  The loyalists representing the Muslim migrants from 
the overpopulated Java are to do the dirty work.  The anti-
independence militants, armed by the Indonesian Armed Forces, are 
using terror to force the native population, mostly Christians, 
to give in.  If the United Nations does not take decisive steps 
and do it immediately, we may be witnessing a great tragedy."

 SOUTH ASIA

INDIA:  "Breaking Free"

The centrist Times of India opined (9/6):  "By overwhelmingly 
rejecting the Indonesian government's proposals for autonomy, the 
people of East Timor have taken a crucial step towards 
independence for their homeland....  Of course, the process from 
now on is not going to be particularly peaceful.  Armed militias 
with links to the Indonesian army have vowed to prevent East 
Timor from breaking free.  Presumably, the UN will have to deepen 
its involvement; an international peacekeeping force will most 
probably have to be deployed fairly rapidly, armed with an 
appropriate UNSC mandate....  Indonesia is currently undergoing a 
democratic transition but the quality and robustness of the final 
outcome is as yet unknown.  If it establishes a vibrant and 
pluralist democracy, the appeal of secessionism is bound to 
diminish.  But if it doesn't, there is bound to be more violence 
and instability in the future.  And more East Timors."

 PAKISTAN:  "The Difference Between East Timor And Kashmir"

An editorial in sensationalist, Urdu-language Ummat observed 
(9/7):  "Very few people know that the United States and the UN 
took special interest in the referendum in East Timor.  Why?  
Ninety percent of the...population of East Timor consists of 
Roman Catholics and the island is considered to be a poor state.  
This combination of poverty and the Christian religion offered a 
great charm to earn U.S. sympathy and interest--for the United 
States and other Christian countries it is attractive to have 
access to an independent state on the borders of the largest 
Islamic country of the world.  It removes hurdles and opens the 
path for pursuing the goals of the United States' New World 
Order.  The interest shown by the UN in East Timor has once again 
exposed the dual standards with which it treats the Muslim and 
the non-Muslim world."

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

CANADA:  "UN Stands Idle To Killing, Yet Again"

Under the sub-heading, "Add East Timor to its record of 
significant failures," former Canadian Ambassador Graham N. Green 
observed in the conservative National Post (9/7):  "We may be 
witnessing the final demise of the United Nations Security 
Council.  For what else can you conclude after watching the 
Council's total and abject failure to deal effectively with the 
anarchy and murder that is consuming East Timor in the wake of 
that territory's overwhelming vote for independence?  If ever 
there was an example of the Council's complete emasculation, this 
must surely be it....  There have been other significant failures 
of the Security Council, including Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda and 
Angola.  It was bypassed when NATO intervened in Kosovo.  It has 
stood on the sidelines while others have tried to settle various 
African conflicts.  It continues to have virtually no role in the 
search for peace in the Middle East.  And now its impotence over 
East Timor is plain for all to see.  If the Security Council will 
not take effective action to protect East Timor, what moral 
authority does it have left?"

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