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Joint Labour-Alliance plea to McKinnon on Timor

2000 web siteThe Labour and Alliance representatives on the East Timor Parliamentary delegation, Phil Goff and Matt Robson, will urge Foreign Affairs Minister Don McKinnon in talks this evening to put intense pressure on Indonesia to protect the East Timorese people.

Acting Labour foreign affairs spokesperson Phil Goff said they were meeting Mr McKinnon as a joint initiative at 5.30 pm in Auckland Airport to brief him on their visit to East Timor and to urge him to do everything in his power to persuade Indonesia to meet its international obligations toward the East Timorese.

"We are hugely concerned that the United Nations is having to withdraw from large areas of East Timor. The explicit promise that was given to the voters before they voted was that UNAMET would remain to protect them after the referendum.

"That was the undertaking the UN gave and that Indonesia signed up to in the May 5 agreement with Portugal.

"They have not maintained security. They must now do so or allow a multi-national peace keeping force entry to the territory as soon as possible," Mr Goff said.

"That will be our message to Mr McKinnon. We will also be urging him that New Zealand must work
in with other countries internationally to put intense pressure on Indonesia.

"The best thing for Indonesia would be to be able to come to the Apec conference in Auckland as a country that recognises the will of the East Timorese people and has acted to protect their security. Failure to do that will make Indonesia the pariah nation at Apec," Mr Goff said.

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