Thousands have fled their homes
The volatile situation in East Timor gives newspapers in neighbouring Indonesia and Australia cause for concern.
Australian commentators fear Canberra risks biting off more than it can chew by sending peacekeeping troops.
In Indonesia, which controlled East Timor before it became independent, there is relief Jakarta has not become directly involved.
HUGH WHITE IN THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Last week we sent the Australian Defence Forces to East Timor to help the government in Dili, but now we seem to be trying to replace that government instead. In the process we have ended up taking responsibility for the security of 800,000 East Timorese. This was not what our government intended, and we may live to regret it.
ANDREW MACINYTE IN THE AUSTRALIAN
The deepening problems in East Timor are a serious potential danger for Australia. If we are not careful, we will tie ourselves into a level of engagement that we will not be able to sustain and that will only compound problems on our north-western frontier.
PIERS AKERMAN IN SYDNEY'S THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
The kumbaya crowd which pressed for East Timor's independence must shoulder much of the blame for the failure of its dysfunctional government. The fact Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri... is deeply unpopular with much of East Timor's population is largely overlooked by his left-wing sympathisers. Nor is it apparent that any of those who clamoured for East Timor's independence lodged objections to the appointment of Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato, with responsibility for the novice nation's police, though he was trained by Cambodia's notorious Khmer Rouge regime.
PAUL CLEARY IN THE AUSTRALIAN
To move forward, East Timor needs a leader who is popular and has the trust of the people... Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta has played an outstanding role during the unrest... He is clearly a leader who would unify the country.
INDONESIA'S KEDAULATAN RAKYAT
The decision by the Indonesian National Military Forces not to send troops to East Timor even though about 3,000 Indonesians were trapped in the armed clashes has been a wise decision, enabling Indonesia to maintain its international image, because the East Timor issue is extremely sensitive.
The presence of foreign troops from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal shows that the country is incapable of ensuring the security of its people. In such a situation, Indonesia faces a dilemma. Doing something or doing nothing can both be wrong. Indonesia suffers in its dealings with East Timor.
The decision by East Timor to authorise foreign powers, notably an Australian force, to tackle security in the country has stunned many people. A question and protest immediately arises: Why did East Timor become independent if it needs a foreign power to ensure security?
INDONESIA'S JAWA POS
The decision not to involve the Indonesian military in the East Timor conflict has been very wise. We await the actions of the troops from Australia, which clearly supported the independence of East Timor in the 1999 referendum. Does Australia truly want to help East Timor or does it seek to control the country?
TJIPTA LESMANA IN INDONESIA'S SUARA KARYA
It is appropriate for the Indonesian government to be vigilant and to have immediately taken a number of measures regarding the armed conflict in East Timor. As President Yudhoyono has said, Indonesia has nothing to do with the current situation. But, as a sovereign country, Indonesia will certainly reject the negative impact of the riots and armed conflict.
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