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Release Of Foreign Affairs & Trade Briefing Papers

Media Release
Hon Phil Goff

11 January 2000

RELEASE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE BRIEFING PAPERS

On the eve of his departure to East Timor, Foreign Minister Phil Goff has today released the 'Post Election Briefing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade'.

The briefing states that New Zealand's interest in East Timor has been primarily driven by concerns about the human rights situation there. The transition to independence in East Timor has allowed New Zealand to demonstrate its capacity and commitment to contribute to the promotion of regional stability, be that through aid, political or military means.

Mr Goff, who has twice travelled to East Timor in its days of occupation, said that his return to a free but devastated East Timor will be a emotional journey for him.

"The East Timorese, with the assistance of the international community, face an enormous task in rebuilding their country and its infrastructure, virtually from scratch. This visit, coming on top of this country's substantial and on-going contribution to UN operations there, underlines our commitment to assist where we can in the reconstruction process".

Mr Goff will stay with the New Zealand Defence Forces in Dili from 12 to 15 January. He will hold talks with a number of the key players, including East Timorese leaders Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta, Sergio Veira de Mello, Special Representative of UNSG, the INTERFET Commander, Major General Cosgrove and many others. On Friday 14 January he will visit the New Zealand troops based near the West Timorese border at Suai.

Following East Timor, Mr Goff will travel to Adelaide where he will meet with his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer. He will return to New Zealand on 19 January.


[Hon Jim Sutton will be the Acting Foreign Minister in Mr Goff's absence].


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