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Albright warns Indonesia on treatment of Timorese
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - 27 September, 1999
United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has demanded the Indonesian Army stop "colluding" with militias against East Timorese in West Timor refugee camps and warned that US aid would remain suspended until the situation vastly improved.
"The Government and armed forces of Indonesia should understand that what happens in West Timor and to East Timorese living elsewhere in Indonesia is as important to the United States policy as what happens in East Timor itself," she said after talks with East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao.
Washington would "take into account all relevant factors," including whether a secure environment had been created in West Timor refugee camps, whether necessary services were provided to people living there, whether East Timorese who desired to return home were allowed to do so and whether Indonesia's military was preventing militias in West Timor from carrying out attacks in East Timor.
Dr Albright sent Assistant Secretary of State Julia Taft to get a "first hand" report of what was happening in the region, and after six days in Jakarta, West Timor and East Timor, she said Ms Taft's report was "terribly troubling".
Dr Albright said in West Timor, Ms Taft "witnessed a heavy militia presence within camps housing East Timorese displaced persons and observed clear incidences of collusion between the Indonesian military and militia groups".
"This collusion has created an extremely dangerous situation that makes it impossible for international humanitarian organisations to operate safely and effectively in West Timor at this time," Dr Albright said.
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