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Goff arrives in East Timor as vote count begins


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

31st August 2001

Goff arrives in East Timor as vote count begins


Foreign Minister Phil Goff has welcomed the successful conduct of East Timor's constituent assembly elections.

Mr Goff is in East Timor today and will meeting with New Zealand members of the UN election observer team and Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Wood, Commanding Officer of the New Zealand Battalion on peacekeeping duty.

“The people of East Timor turned out yesterday in large numbers, and in a peaceful and tolerant environment, cast their first votes ever for a representative national assembly.

"Reports from international and local observers, including the New Zealand observer group, indicate the elections went well with estimates of a 93 percent turnout.

“The people of East Timor have waited a long time for the chance to exercise their democratic rights. Their peaceful conduct yesterday confirms how highly they value those rights. This bodes well, not only for the acceptance of the election results by all parties, but also for East Timor’s future as a democratic and independent state. The United Nations is also to be commended for the smooth running of the ballot.

“I am glad that New Zealand was also able to contribute to this good outcome through our peacekeeping, police and observer presence in East Timor”, Mr Goff said.

Provisional results are expected to be announced by the UN on 5 September, with final results due by 10 September. The composition of the constituent assembly is scheduled to be announced on 15 September, as are the members of a transitional cabinet. East Timor will remain under UN administration until full independence early next year.

ENDS



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