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East Timor decision appropriate

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesman

4 June 2001

East Timor decision appropriate

National's Defence spokesman Max Bradford has welcomed the Government's decision to extend the involvement of New Zealand troops in peacekeeping duties in East Timor until November 2002.

"It is appropriate that they should complete the job which was started by the previous National Government. It shows New Zealand's continued support for the people of East Timor, and our commitment to peacekeeping in the region.

"Nevertheless it is of concern that we have seen nothing from this Labour-Alliance Government which indicates that it has any concrete plans to civilianise the role of peacekeeping in East Timor - an essential step before any eventual withdrawal of overseas troops including those New Zealanders.

"I call on the Prime Minister to advise the people of New Zealand whether any progress has been made towards an eventual exit strategy from East Timor.

"The Prime Minister should let the public know whether her Government is any closer to knowing the timeline under which our peacekeeping duties in East Timor might be brought to a safe conclusion, allowing our troops to finally come home," Max Bradford said.

Ends

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