/** reg.easttimor: 3719.0 **/

** Topic: Indon foreign ministry gave media training to militia: FEER **
** Written 6:23 AM Sep 15, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Indon foreign ministry gave media training to militia: FEER

Indonesian foreign ministry gave media training to militia: report

HONG KONG, Sept 15 (AFP) - The Indonesian foreign ministry organized and paid for leaders of the pro-Indonesian militia in East Timor to be trained in public relations ahead of the recent election, the Far Eastern Economic Review said Wednesday.

It cites ministry officials as saying privately that at least two seminars on public and media relations were organized by the Indonesian government ahead of the August 30 independence referendum.

The seminars, held in Bali, included coaching on how to field awkward questions from the foreign media, the Review said.

"They were said to cost the Indonesian government about 500 million rupiah," the weekly said in a statement.

Speakers at the seminars included senior government officials, military officers and leaders of the pro-Indonesia militias that have since been accused by humanitarian organizations of playing a major role in the violence in East Timor.

"At one seminar, according to the ministry officials, General Adam Daimiri, the senior military officer for East Timor at the time, told the militias that Indonesia 'was behind them 100 percent and would never abandon them,'" the Review said.

Asked by the Review about the seminars, a foreign ministry official said no assistance was given to the militias by the ministry but that it had close relations with them.

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