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Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 03:46 GMT 04:46 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

US sends Timor warning

Tens of thousands have fled over the border into West Timor

President Bill Clinton has warned Indonesia to end the violence in East Timor.

President Clinton: "We cannot have a reversal of course"
He said Jakarta's international reputation and economy were at stake if the bloodshed continued.

"If Indonesia does not end the violence it must invite - it must invite - the international community to assist in restoring security," he said.

However, BBC Washington Correspondent Stephen Sackur says the US does not have much leverage over those carrying out the violence.

East Timor
Washington has made it clear that US troops will not be sent to East Timor.

During his speech, Mr Clinton expressed support for an Australian-led peacekeeping force.

UN leaves

Dutch journalist Irene Slegt in the UN compound: Evacuees protected by troops
As the situation on the ground deteriorates, the United Nations has begun a partial evacuation from its besieged compound in the capital, Dili.

Some 350 staff are leaving. But about 100 - including the head of the mission, Ian Martin - are planning to remain in the compound with 2,000 refugees sheltering there.

A plane carrying some of the evacuees has arrived in Darwin in northern Australia.

Leon Hawthorne: "The UN leaves behind a skeleton staff and 1000 refugees in their compound"
Before the evacuation began, the UN Security Council said water and food had been getting through but it was still gravely concerned about the situation.

Outside Dili, tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes by the violence.

Reports from the capital suggests that atrocities are being committed by Indonesian troops and their militia allies on a horrific scale.

The territory has been ravaged by violence since the referendum vote for independence.

Economic pressure

President Clinton did hint that he may apply economic pressure if the Indonesian authorities refused to act to end the bloodshed.

BBC Washington Correspondent Stephen Sackur: "The language is getting tougher"
He said America's willingness to continue providing financial support would depend on how Jakarta handled the crisis.

The US Defence Department has also announced it is cutting all military-to-military ties with Indonesia.

However, people on the ground in East Timor have noticed little benefit from diplomatic efforts so far.

Systematic violence

The Vatican has accused armed gangs of deliberately killing Roman Catholics; and refugees fleeing the violence report a systematic policy of expulsions.

A 19-year-old Catholic student told the BBC that he and his friends he had been ordered to leave.

"They forced us to go out and said that they would burn our house, so we went out and then the militia took us to the police station," he said.


Bishop David Konstant, the Catholic church spokesman on international affairs
The Vatican said on Thursday that the UN should send a peacekeeping force to stop what it called genocide.

The Roman Catholic church says it has evidence that priests, nuns and other Catholics have been massacred by the pro-Indonesian militias.

Vatican officials said they had confirmed that about 100 people were killed when a church was set on fire in the southern town of Suai earlier this week.

A spokesman for the Catholic aid agency, Caritas, said there appeared to be a systematic campaign against the church.

Refugee expulsion

Refugees fleeing the violence say the militia and Indonesian security forces are systematically expelling East Timorese.

BBC Correspondent Humphrey Hawkesley who has just returned from the western half of Timor said people told him they had been forced to leave their homes against their will.

(Click here to see a map of the area)

Dozens of military and chartered aircraft carrying refugees are arriving in Kupang, the capital of West Timor.

People are also being forced to flee by land or put onto ships.

More than 60,000 people have been forced across the border to West Timor where they are being held in camps controlled by the Indonesian military.

Martial law 'working'

[ image: In Jakarta, students demonstrated against the government]
In Jakarta, students demonstrated against the government
The Indonesian foreign minister, Ali Alatas, said the imposition of martial law two days ago was having an effect on restoring order in the territory.

However, he also said that what he called rogue elements within the security forces had been involved in the destruction.

A UN delegation is due to visit East Timor on Saturday.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, is also travelling to the area.

She is going first to Darwin in Australia but hopes to visit both Dili and Jakarta.

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