Sie sind auf Seite 1von 1

UNCLASSIFIED

Antweiler, Philip L
From: AFSATEX@aol.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 9:11 AM
To: AFSATEX@aol.com
Subject: stan roth supports Downer.. Indonesian Policy debated...

Good policy loses out to saving a neck


RELEASED IN FULL
Comment,
By Brian Toohey

Saving Alexander Downer's neck is now taking precedence over good policy
making on East Timor. After he was again embarrassed in Parliament yesterday,
the Foreign Minister brandished supportive comments from the US Assistant
Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Stanley Roth.
Unfortunately, Roth's support comes at the price of abandoning "at
Australia's urging" his initial enthusiasm for sending a peace-keeping force
to East Timor.
For the second day in a row, Labor's shadow Foreign Minister, Laurie
Brereton, demonstrated in Parliament yesterday that Downer had wrongly denied
that a senior Australian military officer had been approached by his US
counterparts about a possible military deploy-ment in East Timor.
On Monday, Brereton also used a leaked document to rebut Downer's earlier
denials of policy differences between Roth and his department head, Dr Ashton
Calvert.
Although having to admit in Parliament yesterday that he had not read a
crucial cable, Downer was able to quote a comforting statement which he said
Roth made on Monday to the Australian Ambassador in Washington, Andrew
Peacock.
Roth's timely assistance is little more than can be expected from a senior US
diplomat in the circum-stances. Unhappily, it also under-lines how Roth has
abandoned his earlier view that the safety of the people of East Timor would
be best served by a peacekeeping force.
Roth is now locked into support-ing Australia's position that no peacekeepers
are needed imm-ediately after the August 30 ballot on independence.
Despite predictions by senior Indonesian military officials that a bloodbath
could occur at this stage, Australia has successfully opposed dispatching
peacekeepers until after the Indonesian parliament considers the outcome of
the ballot, probably in November. Until then, East Timorese independence
supporters will remain under the dubious protection of Indonesian security
forces.
Downer's parliament problems stem from his eagerness to endorse a statement
from his department on August 2 which "categorically denied" a report in this
newspaper on July 31 about policy differences between Roth and Calvert over
East Timor. Contrary to the sweeping denial, the record of conversation of a
February meeting says there was a significant difference over "our approaches
concerning the security dimension of East Timor's trans-ition". Unlike
Calvert, Roth re-garded the early implementation of a full-scale peacekeeping
operation as unavoidable and described the Australian position as "defeatist'.
Downer says Roth was only expressing a personal view, rather than US policy
as it now stands. This may be true, but could easily turn out to be a tragedy
for the East Timorese.
But Downer looks like escaping from his parliamentary predicament with his
job intact.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE


REVIEW AUTHORITY: DONALD A JOHNSTON 1
DATE/CASE ID: 31 AUG 2004 200402548 UNCLASSIFIED