East Timor Independence
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Three minor parties appeared, all more or less insignificant. The KOTA
(Klibur Oan Timur Aswain), meaning "sons of the mountain warriors", was filiated in the Popular Monarchical Party of the metropolis. Remounting it's origins to the Topasses (see Ethnology of the Timorese), KOTA postulated the restoration of powers to the liurais who could trace their ancestrality back to the Topasse period in order to constitute a democratic monarchy, with the king to be elected amongst the liurais. Like KOTA, the
Timorese Democratic Labour Movement hadn't a programme and agrouped only eight members, all from the same family. They wished to mobilize the working class. The Democratic Association for the integration of East Timor in Australia received money for promises of integration in Australia. It's existence was ephemerous because the Australian government departed from the idea even before the end of 1974.
Of these parties, KOTA and the Labour party were further mentioned and
precisely by the Indonesian authorities with the sole purpose to evoke that
four of the five parties, which they alleged that was the majority of the
East-timorese, had petitioned for integration during the Civil War
On 15 September the United Nations Security Council unanimously
authorised the establishment of a multinational force in Timor (UNSCR
1264). The resolution gives the force three tasks for its man first, to restore peace and security to East Timor; second to protect and support the United Nations Mission in East Timor and; third, to facilitate within force capabilities humanitarian assistance operations in East Timor. The multinational force is commanded by Australia’s Major General Peter
The multinational force has been authorised by the United Nations
Security Council, under chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, to use all necessary measures to achieve its mandate. The multinational force would prepare the ground for the United Nations to complete its task of managing East Timor's transition to independence. This will involve the arrival as soon as possible of a fully-fledged blue helmet UN peacekeeping operation and the establishment of a UN transitional administration.
Australian support for peacekeeping operations is not something new –
Bougainville is but one ongoing example. But the East Timor operation – multilateral in scope, strongly representing South East Asia, led by
Australia and conducted under a United Nations Chapter VII or peace enforcement mandate – is of a very different nature. This is the first time that Australia has been asked by the United Nations to build and lead a multinational force and to provide the largest single component. When
Australia’s deployment was at full strength, it had committed 4,500 troops.
Australian involvement in the East Timor crisis is not motivated by
any desire to cause difficulties in relations between Australia and
Indonesia. It is important that Australia is in East Timor at the request of the United Nations and with the agreement of the Indonesian Government.
It was in Australia’s vital interests that Indonesia be a peaceful, stable and democratic state, economically prosperous and playing a leading and respected role in the region. It was also in Indonesia’s own interests to ensure East Timor’s transition is a peaceful and orderly one. Australia’s efforts in building the relations with Indonesia were directed to that outcome.
With respect to defence relations, it is in australian security
interests to have links such as defence attache representation, high-level
strategic talks, staff college courses, maritime surveillance and disaster
relief exercises. Such contacts are necessary to achieve the objectives in
East Timor, and are desirable because defence links will be part of any effective long-term relationship with Indonesia. That decision shows the challenges Jakarta and Canberra face in maintaining a working defence relationship that supports the long-term national and strategic interests of both countries.
Prime Minister Howard has said that “the deployment of Australian
troops to East Timor meets the test of national interest in two respects.
First, in the spirit of Australia's military tradition, troops are going to defend what Australian society believes to be right. The troops are not going to occupy territory, to impose the will of Australia on others or to act against the legitimate interests of another country. Rather, they go to
East Timor at the request of the United Nations and with the agreement of the Indonesian government. INTERFET troops are defending East Timor’s desire for independence, as delivered in a free vote granted to them by the
Indonesian Government and with the blessing of the international community.
In addition, INTERFET troops will facilitate the humanitarian relief that is so desperately needed for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people in East Timor.
Second, Australian troops in East Timor will work to put an end to the terrible violence that prevailed immediately after the result of the ballot was announced. Apart from the human cost, the scale of violence we witnessed undermines Australia's own interest in a stable region. The troops will prepare the way for the United Nations to undertake the vital task of developing a transitional political and administrative framework for East Timor. For East Timorese, this offers the hope of reconciliation among groups that have fought each other for decades and the opportunity to create their own future. They have a responsibility to come to grips with these issues. For Indonesia, it will more readily be able to concentrate on its nation building task, with the full support of the international community.”
USA admits Timorese right to self-determination
On a letter to Senator Russel Feingold, dated December 27th, 1996,
U.S. President Bill Clinton recognized, for the first time, that he "noted with interest your [a group of 15 U.S. Senators] support of a UN-sponsored self-determination referendum in East Timor".
Indonesia admits independence
For the first time in 23 years, Indonesia has admitted the right of
the Timorese people to indepence. Last January, on the eve of another high-
level bilateral summit on East Timor between the Portuguese and Indonesian
Foreign Ministers, at the United Nations' headquarters in New Yourk, the
Indonesian authorities stated that if the East Timorese rejected the current authonomy plan offered by Indonesia, the central government in
Jakarta would be ready to let them separate from their invadors.
Only a couple of weeks later, president B.J. Habibie announced, at a
meeting with indonesian businessmen at the Chamber of Commerce, that by
January 1st, 2000 the problem of East Timor would be 'fixed': either the
Timorese accepted the "large-scale authonomy" proposed by the Indonesian government in New York (August 5th, 1998), or Indonesia "would wave them goodbye". It was the first time the Indonesian authorities openly talked of independence for East Timor.
Meanwhile, the situation on the territory has worsened in the last
months, followin the alleged massacre at Alas (south of Dili) last
December, when as much as 52 people would have been killed. The military
(18,000 soldiers currently serve in the occupied territory, according to intelligence data smuggled out of East Timor by a dicident officer - that is, 1 for each 40 East Timorese, or proportionally 7 times more than in the rest of Indonesia) have been arming civilian militia, in what international observers consider to be a move aimed at starting a civil war on the verge of Indonesia's leave.
Agreement Between the Republic of Indonesia and the Portugese Republic on the Question of East Timor
The Governments of Indonesia and Portugal, recalling General Assembly
resolutions and the relevant resolutions and decisions adopted by the
Security Council and the General Assembly on the question of East Timor; bearing in mind the sustained efforts of the Governments of Indonesia and
Portugal since July 1983, through the good offices of the Secretary-
General, to find a just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the question of East Timor; recalling the agreement of 5 August
1998 to undertake, under the auspices of the Secretary-General, negotiations on a special status based on a wide-ranging autonomy for East
Timor without prejudice to the positions of principle of the respective
Governments on the final status of East Timor; having discussed a constitutional framework for an autonomy for East Timor on the basis of a draft presented by the United Nations, as amended by the Indonesian
Government; noting the position of the Government of Indonesia that the proposed special autonomy should be implemented only as an end solution to the question of East Timor with full recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor; noting the position of the Government of Portugal that an autonomy regime should be transitional, not requiring recognition of
Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor or the removal of East Timor from the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories of the General Assembly, pending a final decision on the status of East Timor by the East Timorese people through an act of self-determination under United Notions auspices; taking into account that although the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal each have their positions of principle on the prepared proposal for special autonomy, both agree that it is essential to move the peace process forward, and that therefore, the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal agree that the Secretary-General should consult the East Timorese people on the constitutional framework for autonomy attached hereto as an annex; bearing in mind that the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal requested the Secretary-General to devise the method and procedures for the popular consultation through a direct, secret and universal ballot signed up in New
York on this 5th day of May, 1999 the Agreement Between the Republic of
Indonesia and the Portugese Republic on the Question of East Timor
“Article 1 Request the Secretary-General to put the attached proposed constitutional framework providing for a special autonomy for East Timor within the unitary Republic of Indonesia to the East Timorese people, both inside and outside East Timor, for their consideration and acceptance or rejection through a popular consultation on the basis of a direct, secret and universal ballot.
Article 2 Request the Secretary-General to establish, immediately after the
signing of this Agreement, an appropriate United Nations mission in East
Timor to enable him to effectively carry out the popular consultation.
Article 3 The Government of Indonesia will be responsible for maintaining peace and security in East Timor in order to ensure that the popular consultation is carried out in a fair and peaceful way in an atmosphere free of intimidation, violence or interference from any side.
Article 4 Request the Secretary-General to report the result of the popular consultation to the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as to inform the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal and the East Timorese people.
Article 5 If the Secretary-General determines, on the basis of the result
of the popular consultation and in accordance with this Agreement, that, the proposed constitutional framework for special autonomy is acceptable to
the East Timorese people, the Government of Indonesia shall initiate the
constitutional measures necessary for the implementation of the
constitutional framework, and the Government of Portugal shall initiate
within the United Nations the procedures necessary for the removal of East
Timor from the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories of the General
Assembly and the deletion of the question of East Timor from the agendas of the Security Council and the General Assembly.
Article 6 If the Secretary-General determines, on the basis of the result
of the popular consultation and in accordance with this Agreement, that the
proposed constitutional framework for special autonomy is not acceptable to
the East Timorese people, the Government of Indonesia shall take the
constitutional steps necessary to terminate its links with East Timor thus
restoring under Indonesian law the status East Timor held prior to 17 July
1976, and the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal and the Secretary-
General shall agree on arrangements for a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority in East Timor to the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall, subject to the appropriate legislative mandate, initiate the procedure enabling East Timor to begin a process of transition towards independence.
Article 7 During the interim period between the conclusion of the popular
consultation and the start of the implementation of either option, the
parties request the Secretary-General to maintain an adequate United
Nations presence in East Timor. “
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