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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 19, 1999


I welcome the historic decision by the People's Consultative Assembly of Indonesia to accept the results of the August 30 referendum in East Timor. The Assembly's unequivocal action shows respect for the will of the people of East Timor. It is also an important step forward in Indonesia's own democratic transformation, which the United States strongly supports.

Of course, much work remains to make sure that East Timor's transition succeeds. In the wake of the Assembly's decision, the United Nations must establish a transition administration leading to East Timor's full independence. And Indonesia must take the necessary steps to ensure the safe return of all displaced East Timorese, including allowing the international community full access to displaced persons in West Timor.

The United States is committed to helping the people of East Timor not only obtain the legal recognition of independence but also develop the institutions they need to thrive as an independent state. We are equally determined to help Indonesia achieve its goal of lasting democracy and prosperity. Today's action will bring both goals closer to fruition.

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