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Belo biographer says East Timor should be priority for Washington

Protecting East Timor from Indonesia and further militia violence should be a priority of the Bush administration, according to the biographer of Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo of East Timor.

The biographer, Arnold Kohen, who is also a consultant to the US bishops' Office of International Justice and Peace, said President Bush should send a clear signal to Indonesia that any attempts to disrupt East Timor's fledgling democracy will not be tolerated.

"The Bush administration needs to send a signal to the Indonesian military that the United States is not walking away from East Timor," Kohen said during a speech on Thursday at a Washington bookstore.