Contact: Charles A. Scheiner, 1-914-428-7299
The International Federation for East Timor (IFET) today urged the World Bank to postpone the upcoming meeting of the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI). In a letter to James D. Wolfensohn, President of the bank, IFET said the meeting should be postponed until Indonesia has "restored peace and order to West Timor, and established the conditions necessary for the East Timorese refugees who have been trapped there for more than a year to return home."
IFET wrote "Indonesia is not entitled to benefit from the largesse of international funding until it conforms to international norms of diplomacy, justice and law."
The letter praises Wolfensohn's efforts on behalf of East Timor. Following the murder of three UN humanitarian workers in West Timor by Indonesian military-backed militia, Wolfensohn wrote to Indonesia's President Wahid warning that his actions on West Timor are being "watched closely by the international community."
In September 1999, Wolfensohn wrote then-President Habibie urging Indonesian government to abide by the pro-independence vote in East Timor, withdraw its troops, and allow the U.N.- sanctioned InterFET force to enter the territory. Within a week, Indonesia acted, but not until 70% of East Timor's buildings had been destroyed and three-fourths of its population displaced. More than 100,000 East Timorese remain in West Timor.
The CGI, chaired by the World Bank, is next scheduled to meet in mid-October in Tokyo. Members of the CGI include the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and bilateral donors including the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Denmark and Australia. More than $5 billion is expected to be pledged at this year's meeting.
For a copy of the letter click here.
In the months leading up to last year's August 30 vote in East Timor,
the International Federation for East Timor sent 140 non-partisan
observers to East Timor to observe the U.N.-administered consultation
process. IFET was formed in 1991 to support the self-determination
process for East Timor at the United Nations. It now has 39 member
groups from 23 countries.
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