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Wednesday, September 8, 1999 Published at 04:03 GMT 05:03 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Killing must stop, says UN

Refugees flood into the UN compound in Dili

A team of ambassadors from the United Nations Security Council has arrived in Indonesia to hold urgent talks on ways to end violence and bloodshed sweeping East Timor.

East Timor
The government in Jakarta has been coming under mounting pressure to allow the deployment of a foreign force in East Timor since violence intensified following last week's independence referendum.

The United States said Indonesia should agree to such a force if it was unwilling, or unable, to end the trouble itself. Several countries have troops on stand-by.

The Indonesian Government has imposed martial law, but militia mobs have continued to rampage through the capital Dili and outlying towns.

The unrest spread onto the streets of Jakarta, where earlier on Tuesday the government released the rebel leader Xanana Gusmao, the man most likely to lead the newly independent East Timor.

The BBC's David Shukman: "Anger is mounting"
Mr Gusmao said foreign troops must be sent as soon as possible to restrain the militias.

But UN Security Council President Arnold Peter van Walsum told the BBC the UN would not give the green light for intervention without Indonesia's consent.

UN mission spokesman Ian Martin: "Militia members have been roming round in Unamet vehicles"
UN mission chief Ian Martin, who is besieged in the UN's Dili compound along with a handful of remaining staff, told Australia radio: "There is still a state of complete anarchy and lawlessness in Dili.

"There has been a lot of looting and destruction going on.

"Aitarak militiamen have been roaming around the street in Unamet vehicles. We can still hear heavy shooting from various parts of the city."

[ image:  ]
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta said the imposition of martial law would enable the Indonesian army to crack down on pro-independence supporters - not the rampaging militias.

"They are going to use martial law privileges to shoot more people legally," he said.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Dili, Carlos Belo, has arrived in Australia, after fleeing when militiamen overran his home on Monday.

Crisis talks

Ministers from around the world are also convening in New Zealand to discuss the crisis which began following an overwhelming vote on 30 August for independence from Indonesia.

Robin Cook: "If Indonesia cannot restore order, it must seek help"
American Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright said she had warned the Indonesian foreign minister that time was running out.

She said: "I told him they had to deal with this, otherwise it was essential to let the international community take care of it."

[ image: Xanana Gusmao served seven years of a 23-year sentence]
Xanana Gusmao served seven years of a 23-year sentence
But while there is mounting pressure around the world for military action, ministers are fearful of undermining acting president BJ Habibie, who is struggling to introduce democracy.

The military, which has been standing by as the malitias run riot, denied accusations that it was behind the trouble.

Refugee flood

The UN, which organised the elections, say more than 40,000 have fled their homes as militias terrorise all those they think are connected with the pro-independence movement.

Thousands of them are streaming across the border into West Timor, others have fled to Australia and other nearby countries.

Witnesses say that regular troops and armed militias have been herding refugees into trucks and driving them away.

Others are reported to have been put on board Indonesian navy vessels.

Tom Fawthrop: "All residential areas have been cleansed of people"
Hundreds have found refuge in the UN compound at Dili, but with gunfire raging over its rooftops, no one is sure how much longer it will remain a safe haven.

An emergency UN mission - including the ambassadors from Britain, Malaysia, Slovenia and Namibia - is in Indonesia to press for an end to violence.

The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it would discuss concrete steps to allow the peaceful implementation of the result of the 30 August referendum, in which 78.5% of East Timorese voted to cut ties with Jakarta.

Indonesia welcomed the emergency mission, but President Habibie has ruled out any international peacekeeping force in the territory until the Indonesian National Assembly has approved East Timor's secession - a procedure that could take months.

The Australian Government, which is thought likely to lead any international force, has put its troops on heightened alert - but Canberra insists it won't become involved without Indonesian agreement.

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