After the result was announced on 4 September, violent clashes, instigated by a suspected anti-independence militia, sparked a humanitarian and security crisis in the region, with Xanana Gusmão calling for a UN peacekeeping force the same day.
On 6 September, Operation Spitfire commenced with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130 Hercules aircraft evacuating UNAMET staff, foreign nationals and refugees to Darwin, including Bishop Belo, from Dili and Baucau airfields with protection provided by unarmed Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) soldiers.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed the former Portuguese colony.
Finally, on 11 September, Clinton announced: Indonesia, in dire economic straits, relented.
Under international pressure to allow an international peacekeeping force, Indonesian president BJ Habibie announced on 12 September that he would do so.
The Australian prime minister, John Howard, gained the support of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and U. President Bill Clinton for an Australian-led international peacekeeping force to enter East Timor to end the violence.
The United States offered crucial logistical and intelligence resources and an "over-horizon" deterrent presence, but did not commit forces to the operation.