Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Saturday 18 September, 1999 (5:46pm AEST)
Indonesian military blasts attack claims
A senior Indonesian military figure has lashed out at claims that the Australian-led peacekeeping mission to East Timor could come under attack from Indonesian troops.
Army spokesman Major-General Suradjat has even suggested the claims may be a form of provocation from Australia's Prime Minister.
Maj-Gen Suradjat claims it is absurd and unethical to suggest Indonesian soldiers might attack the multinational force.
He says it is a form of provocation, apparently referring to Prime Minister Howard's warning that any attack on the peacekeepers would bring swift retaliation.
Indonesia has announced a staged withdrawal of its troops from East Timor.
Two locally-raised battalions have already been reassigned to nearby Flores Island, and another 8,000 troops are expected to leave before the peacekeepers arrive, most likely on Monday.
A reduced Indonesian force expects to play an advisory role.