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Timor: Catholic Church Pleads For Intervention

Slaughter In East Timor: Catholic Church Pleads For Intervention

The Catholic Church in New Zealand is calling for the international community to intervene in the current situation in East Timor, which is fast deteriorating into genocide.

Cardinal Tom Williams of the archdiocese of Wellington stated this morning that the APEC meeting in Auckland will be a sham "if it does not exert the strongest possible pressure on Indonesian President Habibe to withdraw the Indonesian forces and call in urgently a United Nations Peacekeeping force".

Catholic Aid & Development Agency, CARITAS, is calling on the UN Security Council which is meeting today, to vote for sending an armed UN peacekeeping force into East Timor and assisting the Indonesian military, who are now joining the paramilitary in the open slaughter of innocent Timorese, to leave the territory.

Cardinal Tom Williams emphasises the need for the international community to stop holding back and to take action now. "The horrendous slaughter goes on. Indonesian army and police have the power to halt the bloodshed, but they will not. What kind of insane, inhumane game is the Indonesian Government playing. Its answer to every protest is to send more troops and police to East Timor to restore order, and with every new reinforcement the killing escalates."

"The Indonesian Government and its forces are responsible for a reign of terror that is clearly genocidal. That it intends to allow the massacre to continue could not have been more evident than last Sunday when its Foreign Minister, Ali Alatas, and General Wiranto flew into East Timor and flew out again without bothering to see more than Dili airport. All that will come out of their visit will be more fraudulent assurances and spurious claims as to where the fault lies."

Spokesperson for Caritas, Louise May, says "It is time that the NZ government stopped making weak and platitudinous statements about the whole situation. It is time for the NZ Government, together with the rest of the world, to show Indonesia that it is not only disgusted with what is going on in East Timor, but that it will no longer be tolerated."

ENDS

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