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Condemnation of militia attacks in East Timor


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

28 July, 2000

Goff welcomes international condemnation of militia attacks in East Timor

“Foreign Ministers representing over 20 countries from around the Asia/Pacific region condemned the activities of the pro-independence militias", Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today from Bangkok.

"I welcome the call by ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Foreign Ministers for an end to anti-independence militia activity in East Timor and their condemnation of the killing of New Zealand peacekeeper, Private Leonard Manning.

"The tragic death of Private Manning has strengthened the international community’s resolve to bring peace to East Timor.

“I have personally received many condolences on behalf of Private Manning’s family from ARF Foreign Ministers and Thailand's Prime Minister. They have also paid tribute to New Zealand’s efforts to help bring peace to East Timor and stressed the urgent need for the Indonesian Government to disarm and disband the militias and address the refugee problem in West Timor.

"I hope that with this united approach, and Indonesia’s cooperation, the international community will help secure a lasting peace for East Timor that will mean Private Manning’s death has not been in vain”

“Tomorrow, when I meet with the Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab, I will ask Indonesia to take urgent and effective measures to stamp out the militia. I will also urge Indonesia to take immediate steps to allow repatriation and resettlement of East Timorese refugee camps that provide cover for militia activity.

" New Zealand's Representative to the United Nations in New York will call today for early Indonesian action on these issues at a United Nations Security Council meeting on East Timor.

“Yesterday I met with the Head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), Sergio Vieira de Mello. Mr de Mello updated me on the progress UNTAET has made in investigating Private Manning’s death.

"UNTAET has passed a list of militia suspects to the Indonesian military command in West Timor and has received assurances of full cooperation in bringing Private Manning’s killers to justice. The Indonesian Defence Minister has also provided these assurances to the New Zealand Ambassador in Jakarta.

"I welcome these commitments and look forward to early progress with investigations on both sides of East Timor/Indonesia border” Mr Goff concluded.

ENDS


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