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Death of Private Leonard Manning in East Timor

25 July 2000 Media Statement

Death of Private Leonard Manning in East Timor


Prime Minister Helen Clark today extended her sympathy and deepest condolences to the family of Private Leonard Manning, who was killed yesterday in a gun battle with bandits in East Timor.

"I am saddened by the death of Private Manning and my thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.

"Private Manning's death highlights the dangers of the work being performed by our troops in East Timor.

"The problems facing the world's newest nation are enormous ones. Its people are impoverished, the country has little or no infrastructure and as yesterday's tragic events have shown the peace that exists in East Timor following the end of the Indonesian occupation last year is still a precarious one.

"New Zealand willingly volunteered to help East Timor through its transition to independence but tragically one of our young soldiers has paid with his life.

"Last night New Zealand's ambassador in Bangkok received calls from Sergio de Mello, the UN special representative, and Xanana Gusmao, the East Timorese leader, expressing their sadness on hearing of Private Manning's death.

"Private Leonard Manning's legacy will be the role he played in UNTAET's essential work in bringing stability to East Timor," Helen Clark said.

Helen Clark will be making a statement to Parliament on the death of Private Manning at 2pm this afternoon.

ENDS



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