By Selwyn Manning
Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tonight insists atrocities in East Timor have been largely quelled.
A spokesperson for the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Abdullah Alatas, told Scoop Media: “There has been an improvement in East timor.
“I can confirm that we [the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta] are receiving reports from Dili and the surrounding area, and the situation has improved.
“Since the Indonesian Army on the instructions of the Indonesian Government instituted marshal law things have improved and there has been a marked reduction in violence.”
Jakarta is now saying pro-Indonesian militia are agreeing to a “laying down of arms”.
“I would not say it is back to normal in East Timor, but the worst expressions of violence have been quelled.”
Much of the world’s view of East Timor comes from the United Nations compound in Dili. Mr Alatas’s spokesperson said Jakarta has no knowledge, reports or developments on the situation surrounding the UN compound.
“But I can say, we have instructed our army that the safety of the UN compound and its personnel is of the utmost importance.”
Mr Alatas’ spokesman said: “We are taking the necessary steps by imposing marshal law in East Timor and we have done this in consultation with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
He said the Indonesian Government will inform the United States President and the international community gathered in Auckland for the APEC leader’s summit meetings, that the international community must “give Indonesia a chance for its moves to peace to work.”
Any reports that the split between the Indonesian Government and the Military were false: “It is that type of speculation which is not helpful to the situation in Indonesia or East Timor.”
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