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Sunday, September 19, 1999 Published at 23:12 GMT 00:12 UK


World: Asia-Pacific

Annan accuses Indonesian military

Soldiers and militiamen are both guilty, Kofi Annan says

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has said it is clear that elements in the Indonesian army played a role in militia atrocities in East Timor.

East Timor
Speaking on CNN television on Sunday, Mr Annan said he did not know how far up the military chain of command the co-operation went.


[ image: UN Secretary-General Annan wants an international inquiry into human rights abuses]
UN Secretary-General Annan wants an international inquiry into human rights abuses
But, he said: "It looks as if the military in East Timor, the Indonesian military, co-operated or acquiesced or ignored what was going on."

Mr Annan indicated that he favoured the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to examine the mounting evidence of human rights abuses.

"Those responsible for these atrocities must be made to account," he said.

Unexpected level of violence

"No one expected the kind of carnage and the chaos that was created immediately after the results of the ballot were announced," he added.


[ image: Together soldiers and militiamen manned checkpoints in East Timor]
Together soldiers and militiamen manned checkpoints in East Timor
The BBC's correspondent at the UN says Mr Annan argues that perpetrators of atrocities cannot be treated with impunity, irrespective of whether their crimes were directed against UN personnel or East Timorese civilians.

As the Australian-led multi-national force travels to the territory, Mr Annan described himself as cautiously optimistic that talks conducted between senior Australian and Indonesian military commanders earlier on Sunday would help smooth the way for its successful deployment in East Timor.

The UN Secretary-General said he hoped the pro-Indonesian militia groups there would not try to take the peacekeepers on and warned anyone considering resorting to violence that the multi-national soldiers had the capacity to defend themselves.



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