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US opposes reprisals against Indonesian protesters at APEC summit

Vancouver - November 22, 1997

The United States served notice Saturday that it would oppose Indonesian reprisals against Indonesians protesting their country's human rights abuses during an APEC meeting here.

Commenting on press reports quoting Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas as threatening to "take measures against them," a senior US official said: "We are trying to track down exactly what he said."

"Our position is clear: we would oppose any threat against Indonesians or others who demonstrate peacefully," said the official, who asked not to be named.

"If what he said is as reported, we would urge him to reconsider."

Thursday, the Indonesian dissidents, largely human rights activists and opponents of Jakarta's continued occupation of East Timor, discussed the reported threat at an alternative summit on the sidelines of the APEC gathering.

Indonesian President Suharto was due here Sunday for the two-day summit of leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (forum), which gets under way Monday.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was to hold a bilateral meeting with Alatas Sunday as part of pre-summit consultations.