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Rep. Cynthia McKinney to Introduce Legislation to Freeze All Lethal Equipment to Indonesia

May 19, 1998

The use of military force against the protesting citizenry of Indonesia and East Timor is unconscionable."

(Washington) - Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), second ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Subcommittee on International Relations and Human Rights, will introduce legislation this week intended to freeze the sale, lease, loan, and grant of lethal equipment to the government of Indonesia. "The use of military force against the protesting citizens of Indonesia and East Timor is unconscionable; the use of U.S. weapons to suppress these protests, on behalf of an aging dictatorship, is even more outrageous. The United States should be on the side of the people and not Suhartoís heaving dictatorship," said McKinney.

"With this legislation we intend to send a clear, executable, and binding message to the Suharto regime that the United States will not ignore the blatant disregard of human rights that Indonesia has shown toward its own people and the people of East Timor," continued McKinney. After the slaughter of over 500 anti-government protestors, the four factions of the hand-picked, Suharto Parliament will call for President Suharto to step down today "for the integrity of the nation," but the 400,000-strong military forces, under the guidance of Gen. Wiranto, have aligned themselves with the President declaring that he remain in office and "guide the implementation of political reforms." Should Suharto be overthrown, the Indonesian people will still need to be protected. This piece of legislation is just one piece of what should become a strategic plan to eliminate the killing power of one more hand-picked dictator", said McKinney.

While the White House has not made political reform a condition for continued economic aid to Indonesia, "this bill works around the Clinton Administrationís foreign policy quagmire and seeks to eliminate the proliferation of lethal materials that can be used against the people of Indonesia," said McKinney. Rep. McKinney had also cosponsored legislation to freeze the U.S. export to Indonesia of spare parts and ammunition that could be used against the people of Indonesia who are struggling against the Suharto dictatorship.

McKinney, cosponsors of her bill, and the East Timor Action Network activists will hold a press conference Wednesday, May 20, 1998 at 1:15 pm outside the U.S. Capitol on the Triangle to discuss the scope of the bill and the future of Indonesia.

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