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NZ Presses Indonesia On West Timor Refugees

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement
19 October 2000


New Zealand has called upon Indonesia to do more to disarm and disband the militia in West Timor and to bring those guilty of the murder of UN personnel to justice, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

The call came at a Tokyo meeting of the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI), 17-18 October, which brought together donors, financial institutions, the Indonesian government and representatives of civil society to discuss Indonesia’s reform programme and to pledge budget support and development assistance.

New Zealand's statement was in line with those from Australia, the United States, the European Union and other countries which also called for a more effective response from Indonesia to the militia problem.

“The security situation in the border area between East and West Timor is a cause of deep concern," Mr Goff said. "The measures taken so far by Indonesia to solve the problem of the militias in West Timor fall far short of what is needed.

“These militias are well armed and dangerous. They have killed three United Nations workers in Atambua and civilians on both sides of the border. They are also responsible for the death of a New Zealand soldier, Pvt Leonard Manning while on border patrol.

"Assurances given by Indonesia at the meeting that it will put priority on resolving the West Timor situation, that it will meet conditions set by the United Nations Security Council and allow a United Nations mission to visit next month are welcome.

"But these assurances need to be translated into action.

"New Zealand has agreed that some of its $5.25m aid budget for Indonesia can be channelled to helping with resettlement and repatriation of refugees now in West Timor. This is providing the Indonesian government can assure security so that UN personnel can return to manage this programme.

The CGI meeting strongly encouraged Indonesia to continue its programme of reform, to put poverty reduction at the centre of its development strategy and to halt the illegal logging which threatens Indonesia’s remaining rain forests.


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