APSN Banner

For self-determination and financial assistance

ASIET - February 3, 1999

[The following statement by the national secretariat of Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) was issued as a response to the Indonesian government's statement on autonomy and independence for East Timor.]

ASIET views the recent statements by Indonesian foreign minister Ali Alatas with great caution but also assesses them as a major victory for the East Timorese people. As a direct result of the enormous sacrifices made in the course of the people's resistance in East Timor and their untiring persistence in demanding an act of self-determination, the Indonesian regime has been forced to recognise that their proposal for "autonomy plus" will not be accepted by the East Timorese as a final solution.

Only a genuine act of self-determination will ever be seen as a final solution: or independence itself.

ASIET salutes the great courage and persistence of the East Timorese resistance and the East Timorese people as a whole, who have defeated the Jakarta regime.

Further weakened by the mass democratic awakening in Indonesia, the Habibie-Wiranto regime has now taken the first step in capitulation. However, the regime will still try to ensure that the coming developments work to the regime's benefit and not the East Timorese. If the regime can find any way to renege on the commitment it has now given, it will do so. No regime that has genuinely good intentions towards the people of East Timor would still be sending special commando forces to East Timor or arming and paying vigilante groups to engage in terror and murder.

Every extra day in reaching agreement on self-determination and on the withdrawal of Indonesian armed forces will mean more East Timorese lives lost. Pressure must be maintained on Indonesia and the Australian government to ensure the most rapid possible conclusion to the war of occupation.

ASIET therefore calls upon the international solidarity movement to campaign for the following urgent demands:

  • that the Habibie government immediately withdraw all members of the Indonesian military from East Timor and that it immediately disarm all vigilante groups;
  • that the Habibie government immediately and unconditionally release Xanana Gusmao from detention, along with all other East Timorese political prisoners;
  • that the Habibie government immediately begin direct talks with Xanana Gusmao and other creditable representatives of the East Timorese people to organise a transition to self-determination and independence.

ASIET calls upon the Australian government to:

  • immediately rescind its recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor;
  • end all forms of cooperation with the Indonesian military;
  • publicly declare its willingness to offer generous financial assistance, financed by a levy on Australian businesses that have profited from activity in Indonesia and East Timor, to an independent East Timorese authority, as a form of war reparations owing to the East Timorese people as a result of Australian complicity in Jakarta's war of occupation, 1975-1999;
  • publicly declare it supports the right of the East Timorese to negotiate any new contracts for the exploitation of their natural resources, including in the Timor Gap, with any party from any country in accord with what would bring the best benefits to the East Timorese people.