DATE=9/8/1999 TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP TITLE=OUTRAGE OVER EAST TIMOR NUMBER=6-11460 BYLINE=ANDREW GUTHRIE DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS TELEPHONE=619-3335 CONTENT= /// re-running w/correct number /// INTRO: The news from East Timor continues to be grim. Indonesia's official news agency is reporting that refugees are streaming out of the province, as roving gangs continue to rampage through Dili, the capital. In the United States, the tone of editorials demanding some kind of armed intervention by the United Nations, or some of its member states, is becoming more strident. Several papers are counseling extreme caution about any sort of intervention without Indonesian approval, which has not been forthcoming. We get a sampling now from __________ in today's U-S Opinion Roundup. TEXT: Ever since last week's plebiscite in East Timor, which resulted in an overwhelming vote for independence from Indonesia, violence has increased. Private militias, reportedly sponsored by the Indonesian military have been killing pro-independence supporters and looting homes and businesses. Unarmed United Nations election observers have been attacked. Now, many U-S papers are editorializing that more needs to be done than threatening Indonesia with a cutoff of international funds to help it out of an economic depression. We begin in Florida, where "The Orlando Sentinel" writes: VOICE: In East Timor - a territory virtually unknown to most Americans, which Indonesia has controlled since 1975 - armed thugs have been killing innocent civilians. . The massacre must stop. If Indonesia fails to deliver on its promise to stop the bloodbath in the former Portuguese colony, the international community should rise beyond condemnation. Leadership, though, should come from Southeast Asia, not the United States. TEXT: Georgia's Atlanta Journal wants to see more pressure put on Jakarta to stop the killing, and compares the situation to the Balkans. VOICE: "Ethnic Cleansing" was a new and shocking phrase when the government of President Slobodan Milosevic introduced the vicious practice to the world in Bosnia, and later in Kosovo. Others around the world have apparently been learning its meaning quickly . Witness the terrifying campaign of brutality, murder, expulsion and destruction being waged in East Timor .. As in the Serbian case, much of the actual violence in East Timor is being conducted by what are called "militias," paramilitary groups that have no direct, official connection to the government. But Indonesia's army and police conveniently stood by for days and watched the killing, wounding, burning and forced evacuations of Timorese people .. Prospects for ending this horror are dim. . The only hope is for Indonesia's government to discover that it has dome strong interest in reversing its course of indifference and connivance in the vicious campaign against the Timorese people. TEXT: The views of The Atlanta Journal. TEXT: In California, The San Francisco Chronicle is hoping that, somehow, the Indonesian government will quickly change its approach. VOICE: The best option, of course, would be for Indonesia to provide genuine security for the island of 800-thousand people as it begins a transition toward autonomy. Indonesia has declared martial law in East Timor, giving the military the ability to conduct searches without warrants, enforce curfews and shoot violators on sight. However, the evidence to date suggests that Indonesia has neither the will nor the means to rein in the violence. TEXT: Newspaper readers in Philadelphia are seeing plenty about the beleaguered island in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The lead editorial headline reads: "Send in U-N help", while on the opposite page, international affairs writer Trudy Rubin's column is headlined "In East Timor crisis, echoes of Kosovo." But the veteran writer explains how difficult approving any action in the U-N Security Council will be VOICE: If the Australians seek a U-N Security Council vote [on armed intervention] over Indonesia's objection, China would surely veto, lest a precedent be set for some future outside invasion of say, Tibet. What to do? Economic pressure on Jakarta might help - - if Washington and its allies pull together to oppose vital international loans to Jakarta unless Indonesia reigns in the East Timor violence. But it'' not clear that [President] Habibie, who leaves office in January, can control his own generals. More crucial is international pressure on Indonesia to let in peacekeepers soon.... Can the international community unite to squeeze Jakarta into letting peacekeepers enter before it's too late to matter? If not, the only Kosovo precedent will be that the international community dithered while another ethnic community was slaughtered as we watched. TEXT: Thoughts from the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran foreign affairs analyst, Trudy Rubin. Back to California, where The Los Angeles Times suggests "East Timor Needs Outside Help," adding: VOICE: There is a strong odor of ethnic cleansing in the depredations. If the Jakarta government can't halt this outrage, others should act. The New York Times describes the situation in its lead editorial headline as "East Timor Under Siege," but cautions: VOICE: An international force is clearly the last resort, to be tried only if President Habibie and Indonesia's military leader, General Wiranto, will not stop the violence. But a united, powerful threat from abroad is likely needed to persuade them to end the killings. TEXT: Today's San Diego [California] Union-Tribune is skeptical of Indonesia's moves so far: VOICE: The imposition of martial law by Jakarta is meaningless. Indonesian troops already on East Timor have condoned the rampage by pro-Indonesian paramilitaries for a week. Either the government of B-J Habibie has lost control of its army or is manipulating the situation in an attempt to delegitimize the independence vote. TEXT: From the Midwest, The [Minneapolis] Star Tribune glumly notes: VOICER: In the Minnesota autumn, it's easy to pretend all is right with the world. In the streets of Dili it's impossible. East Timor's capital and countryside abide in terror right now - because some people yearn for freedom and others will not let them have it. TEXT: The St. Petersburg [Florida] Times is anxious about outside intervention, however, noting: VOICE: Indonesia opposes intervention, insisting it can handle the problem itself. The United Nations should be careful. It is not an indisputable truth that East Timor should be independent. Indonesia is a series of 16-thouand-500 islands-and Timor is located among them. Also, an argument could be made that East and West Timor should be together. . If U-N troops pour into Indonesian territory against the government's will ... there could be a need to keep peacekeepers there indefinitely to prevent Indonesia from reclaiming it. If peacekeepers are sent in, consistency will re-emerge as an issue. Sierra Leone, nestled among several small countries on Africa's West Coast, has been engulfed in civil war for eight years. . It will be hard to justify intervention in East Timor but not Sierra Leone. The United Nations should strive to be more consistent than U-S foreign policy has been in recent years. TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment on the deteriorating situation in East Timor. NEB/ANG/KL 08-Sep-1999 15:12 PM EDT (08-Sep-1999 1912 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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