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Funding for East Timor legislative elections

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

5 June 2001

Goff announces funding for East Timor legislative elections

New Zealand will contribute $250,000 to the organisation of East Timor's first legislative elections in August and New Zealanders will also serve under the UN Volunteer programme as district electoral officers Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said today.

Mr Goff made the announcement after meeting with East Timor Foreign Minister Dr Jose Ramos Horta.

"Dr Ramos Horta and I renewed a long and friendly association today. I am pleased to be in a position to confirm New Zealand's ongoing support for East Timor's nation-building."

Mr Goff said he and Dr Ramos Horta also discussed possibilities for further assistance in the setting up of an East Timor Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Assistance is already provided for English language training for its diplomats.

Both Ministers expressed concern about the slow pace of justice for victims of the 1999 human rights violations in East Timor and expressed hope the refugee registration exercise taking place in West Timor tomorrow (6 June) allows refugees to make a free and informed choice about their future.

"East Timor will require a substantial UN civilian and military presence for some years beyond independence.

"I have told Dr Ramos Horta that New Zealand is in there for the long haul and we are encouraging others to do likewise," Mr Goff said.


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