News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


US State Department Briefing On East Timor

Daily Press Briefing Index
Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Briefer: James P. Rubin


INDONESIA (East Timor) 2 Congressional consultations regarding peacekeeping force / humanitarian interest


QUESTION: Well, here's a simple one: In the last couple of days, what has the administration been doing, that you know of, to consult with Congress about the operation in East Timor, and what kind of a reception are you getting?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, a number of administration officials, including the President, have been consulting with Congress about this operation, and essentially indicating that we do think it's important for us to participate; that having a role in the logistics, in the communications and in the intelligence area is an appropriate role for the United States, because these are capabilities that we have unique expertise in; that an ally of ours - a very close ally, Australia, who has been with us through thick and thin - has asked for our assistance, and we think, therefore, it would be appropriate to help.

We are talking about hundreds of American service men and women, not thousands. I think, in general, there has been a recognition by members of Congress that this kind of an assistance to the Australians, and others from Asia -- including Thailand and the Philippines and Korea and perhaps Malaysia and others who are intending to contribute -- is an appropriate way for us to share the burden without bearing the full brunt of it.

QUESTION: The US administration being pressed as to what national security interest - or is the humanitarian situation compelling enough that there is a disposition to go along with this limited involvement?

MR. RUBIN: Well, we think there is a national security interest in our participation, and the national security interest is a very simple one: Indonesia is a country -- the fourth-largest country in the world, the largest Muslim country -- that has been going through profound changes in the last year moving from an authoritarian dictatorship to the beginnings of a real democracy, and that development of Indonesia is of interest to the United States, in and of itself, and because Indonesia stands astride critical sea lanes and lines of communication for our forces and our goods and services around the world.

If Indonesia is unable to deal with a situation like East Timor -- if it were to continue to spin out of control -- it could affect the future of Indonesia, and thus our national security. Secondly, there is a humanitarian interest. We do believe that we should look at how to be helpful, where we reasonably can be helpful, where our unique capabilities can make a difference, and that is why we believe it would be appropriate to help ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering get relief.

But again, what happens here is that people often try to develop a simple formula for what the United States should and shouldn't do, and there is no simple formula for American intervention, or American use of force. That is what the President, and the Secretary of State, are paid to decide: not to simply plug in a formula, but to make the judgment calls that are necessary in cases like this.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Westpac Exiting Cake Tin: Stadium Announces Naming Rights Agreement With Sky

Wellington Regional Stadium Trust (WRST) and Sky Network Television Ltd (Sky) have announced a new partnership that will see Sky secure the naming rights of the Stadium from 1 January 2020. More>>


ASB Classic: Serena Williams Confirmed For 2020

One of the biggest names in sport has confirmed she will be returning to the ASB Classic in 2020. Twenty-three time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams will return to Auckland’s ASB Tennis Arena to challenge for the ASB Classic title. More>>

Netball: Taurua To Coach Silver Ferns Through Two More Campaigns

Netball New Zealand has confirmed Taurua will guide the Silver Ferns as they take on the Australian Diamonds in October’s Cadbury Netball Series (Constellation Cup), along with the Northern Quad Series in late January. More>>


Bigger But Less Novel Than The Parrot: Giant Fossil Penguin Find

The discovery of Crossvallia waiparensis, a monster penguin from the Paleocene Epoch (between 66 and 56 million years ago), adds to the list of gigantic, but extinct, New Zealand fauna. These include the world’s largest parrot, a giant eagle, giant burrowing bat, the moa and other giant penguins. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland