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Clark: NZ Govt's stance on Timor repugnant

Labour
2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark today described the National Government’s indifference to events in East Timor as morally repugnant.

“This morning the Prime Minister persisted in her delusion that “some stabilisation is going on in East Timor.”

“If Mrs Shipley would only turn on a radio or watch a television news report, she would surely understand that the “stabilisation” she refers to amounts to the razing of Dili, the displacement and murder of its citizens and similar atrocities throughout the territory.

“Nuns and priests, ordinary citizens, and foreign observers have all been targeted by death squads. The Indonesian army and police have not only stood by and let it happen, but have also aided and abetted it.

“The New Zealand Government’s position is morally repugnant. All week it has stood by and insisted that the Indonesian Government is doing its best to bring the situation under control. That is ridiculous.

“The Prime Minister’s only interest in East Timor this week has been to get it off the agenda of her summit. She repeats this morning that she wants to get on with the medium-term issues of raising Asian countries out of poverty.

“It is not poverty that is being talked about in East Timor: it is genocide and ethnic cleansing.

“No doubt now that the American Government has suspended its already minimal military links with East Timor, the National Government in New Zealand will feel emboldened to do the same.

“The New Zealand Government appears incapable of independent thought and action on this crisis while it desperately attempts to preserve the illusion of normality around this summit which it does not want sullied by the genocide in East Timor.

“Frankly discussing tariffs on shoes, lamb, and rice seems irrelevant to most people while news of this crisis grips not only the region but the world.

“Urgent consideration must now be given to economic measures designed to bring the Indonesian regime to its senses. There can now be no certainty that Indonesia’s parliament will uphold the East Timorese people’s choice. If Indonesian chooses to become a pariah nation then it is not fit to receive the continuing flow of western funds it needs to stay afloat,” Helen Clark said.


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