East Timor as a UN Colony

Deborah Staines d.staines at pgrad.unimelb.edu.au
Mon Apr 24 17:35:47 PDT 2000

Yoshie wrote:

>>We should have _clearly_ opposed "peace-keepers" and argued against
>>the ETAN, Australian unionists, etc. that called for an imperial
>>military intervention. An unpopular position among liberals &

Wasn't Australia's 'peaceful' deployment rather unusual in the history of military actions? Isn't it being hailed as a challenge to what a military intervention can in the future constitute? My understanding is that the leader of the Interfet mission (Cosgrove) is being lauded as the embodiment of non-aggressive, non-confrontational, anti-shooting peacekeeping (something the Americans have yet to learn). No Australians died in direct conflict and I understand that the losses suffered on the other side were also relatively low - under 15? Perhaps I'm wrong about that figure and somebody could offer the correct number of Indonesian casualties. Furthermore, Australian unionists produced a brilliant manoeuvre in confronting bourgeois backpackers at our international airports as they arrived to catch their flights to Bali and other popular Indonesian 'resort' destinations.The sight of our blonded, suburban Barbie girls & boys in Hawaiian shirts trying to scramble past burly Aussie builders to get to the check-in counters was hilarious. Lastly, Australia has backed the accelerated withdrawal of UN presence from East Timor, and I have included part of an ABC news report that details this:

Australia to push early UN withdrawal from Timor

The World Today - Friday, February 18, 2000 12:10

COMPERE: This afternoon the secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, arrives for his first visit to Australia. After visiting Darwin to thank our northernmost city for its essential role in bringing order and stability to East Timor over the past few months, he'll travel on to Canberra. There he will be told that Australia wants the United Nations to leave East Timor after less than two years rather than waiting for the three years as currently scheduled for the UNAMET brief.

The Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer are to put the go-sooner-rather-than-later argument to the UN secretary-general in talks on Monday.

Graeme Dobell reports on Australia's emerging thinking on a timetable for the UN de facto government in East Timor.

GRAEME DOBELL: The UN took legal responsibility for East Timor last October, and all the planning has been for a de facto UN government for three years or longer. But Australia is to urge the UN secretary-general to go sooner rather than later, suggesting the UN administration should be wound up in August next year after less than two years. It's partly driven by obvious cost issues, but also a view that the quicker the East Timorese take full responsibility the better. Senior Australian sources say Canberra is responding to emerging thinking within the UN itself, with the UN boss in Dili, Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of those said to favour an early departure. It draws on the UN experience in Cambodia and Bosnia and demands for a definite exit strategy. -------------- next part -------------- An HTML attachment was scrubbed... URL: <../attachments/20000425/ae5572d3/attachment.htm>

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