/** reg.easttimor: 3212.0 **/

** Topic: US lawmakers push [Fri.] for cutoff of int'l aid to Indon **
** Written 12:35 PM Sep 10, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: US lawmakers push [Fri.] for cutoff of int'l aid to Indon

US lawmakers push for cutoff of international aid to Indonesia

WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (AFP) - Pressure mounted Friday in Congress to ratify a declaration of US opposition to any new aid by international organizations to Indonesia, where military-backed militias continued to wreak havoc and murder in East Timor.

"We must halt these loan payments to convince the Indonesian government that its campaign of terror against the East Timorese will have dire consequences," said Democratic House Representative Ken Bentsen of Texas at a press conference here.

Legislation proposed by a group of representatives, mostly Democrats, would call for not only a cancelation of future loans to Indonesia but also the suspension of any funds not yet dispersed from current loans, Bentsen said.

"We must make it the official US position until the administration can certify that the situation has been resolved," he added.

Other Democratic lawmakers were equally adamant.

"We must get the message through that they must stop this slaughter," said Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California.

"It is unthinkable that the IMF and World Bank should continue to reward Indonesia while it is slaughtering innocents," said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts.

"There is an explosion of indignation in Congress," he added.

But it was not immediately clear whether the Republican majority in Congress would let the proposed legislation come to a vote.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank in 1998 promised an aid package of 49 billion dollars to Indonesia, which was in the midst of a serious financial crisis at the time. Most of that money, but not all, has already been disbursed.

A bill similar to the one introduced Friday in the House was introduced earlier this week in the Senate.

Washington and New Zealand have suspended military ties with Indonesia.

** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **