Press release
 

   
 
Fragile archipelago
Indonesia secrete
   

 
US Senators letter to Colin Powell
Indonesia has manipulated the US trust for better situation between Indonesia and GAM
 
LONDON, June 15, 2001 (TAPOL) With the exception of Senator Wellstone, all the senators were signatories of a later letter to GAM, sections of which have been widely circulated in the Indonesian press and used by military and government officials to allege that these senators regard GAM alone as the cause of the catastrophe now unfolding in Acheh. To our knowledge, no mention has been made in Indonesia to this letter by the same senators to the US Secretary of State which clearly shows that the senators are concerned about the actions being taken by both sides.
 

 

THE ACHEH TIMES

 

 

       
 

'Within Indonesia, there appears to be a serious misunderstanding of the United States position on Acheh.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'United States supports a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Acheh and is concerned by measures that could jeopardize the talks.'

  Dear Mr Secretary,

We are writing to convey our deep concern about reports that the Indonesian military is preparing for a major offensive against armed rebels in Acheh. Such an offensive would threaten to derail negotiations that have been taking place between Indonesian Government officials and members of the Free Acheh Movement (GAM) in Banda Acheh. In addition it would inevitably cause civilian casualties and end up strengthening, not weakening, popular support for GAM.

The Indonesian Defense Minister and senior military officials have said they only plan 'limited military operations'. However, the reports of the personnel and equipment being sent to Acheh suggest that what is contemplated is an attempt to crush the rebellion by military means without addressing the underlying causes. Some Indonesian officials have reportedly suggested that the rationale for sending additional troops is to enable Exxon-Mobile, which recently closed three of its gas fields in Acheh, to resume operations.

Within Indonesia, there appears to be a serious misunderstanding of the United States position on Acheh. Repeated statements by US officials of support for Indonesia's territorial integrity have been treated by some Indonesian officials as a green light for the planned offensive.

We therefore believe it is essential that the Department of State clarify publicly the Administration's position on Acheh as soon as possible. We urge you to make clear that the United States:
supports a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Acheh and is concerned by measures that could jeopardize the talks;
would oppose actions by either side likely to lead to violations of human rights;
does not endorse the planned offensive which if carried out would place additional barriers to resuming assistance to the Indonesian military; and
is deeply concerned by the growing number of displaced persons in Acheh and is exploring ways to get humanitarian aid to those in need.

Thank you for your consideration.

The signatories are:

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat
Senator James M Jeffords, Republican
Senator Robert G. Torricelli, Democrat
Senator Edward M Kennady, Democrat
Senantor Russell D. Feingold, Democrat
Senator Paul Wellstone, Democrat

     

 

      The article is distributed by Tapol in London
       
     
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