Tue, 21 Nov 2000

Gen. Wiranto denies any foreknowledge of East Timor

MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi (JP): Gen. (ret.) Wiranto brushed aside here on Monday foreign news reports that he knew before hand of the terror tactics which were to be unleashed in East Timor in September last year.

"Who says?" remarked Wiranto when asked by The Jakarta Post on Monday.

"I question the validity of such a remark," he added.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Australian Ambassador to Jakarta John McCarthy suggesting that as the then Commander of the Indonesian Military (TNI) Wiranto was privy to such knowledge.

The Herald quoted McCarthy as saying that "the sort of activity that was taking place in East Timor in the lead up to the ballot could not have taken place without the broad knowledge of the senior commanders in that organization".

Nevertheless, McCarthy was also quoted as saying that "they might not have known the details or were not being kept up to date on everything that was being done".

The Indonesian Attorney General's Office has named 23 people as suspects in the East Timor human rights case. While several senior ranking military officers were named, Wiranto was not.

Wiranto, who was here on Monday to promote his debut musical album, maintained that in the case of East Timor he has always remained faithful and cooperative to the legal process being pursued by prosecutors.

"Up to now I have continued to follow the process accordingly," he remarked.

"I believe we should remain fair. But if there is somebody who has a different view, a different interpretation, than he should submit it formally... if he has something worth submitting," Wiranto added.

After engaging in rhetoric that Indonesia should not be goaded by foreign intervention, Wiranto said that he would any response to the Indonesian government.

"I believe we should leave it to the Indonesian government to take a stand against these issues and slanderous allegations which have no basis". (27)