Dutch Halts Aid to Indonesia Over Criticism
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ Tensions between the Netherlands and Indonesia over linking foreign aid to human rights escalated today as the Dutch halted all financial help for their former colony.
The announcement came a day after Indonesia said it would no longer accept aid from the Netherlands and accused the Dutch of trying to use financial help as a political weapon. The Netherlands has been giving Indonesia about $220 million a year.
The dispute arose when the Netherlands temporarily cut off aid to Indonesia after government troops killed dozens of pro-independence demonstrators in the capital of its East Timor province in November.
The Dutch development aid minister, Jan Pronk, further angered the Indonesian government by proposing that the Netherlands link its aid to Indonesia’s human rights record.
The two nations’ relations have been rocky since the Netherlands ended three centuries of rule over Indonesia in 1945. Aid disputes have strained relations several times as did Indonesia’s abrogation of a union treaty in 1956 and its refusal to pay debts owed to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands said it would not convene this year’s meeting of the Dutch- led consortium of Western donor countries that have been giving Jakarta close to $5 billion yearly.
Indonesia had demanded that the Netherlands end its chairmanship of the consortium, which includes the United States and Japan.
The Dutch letter said the consequences of the aid halt on other consortium donors was ″being reviewed.″