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Goff to raise East Timor security with Indonesia

Foreign Minister Phil Goff will meet with Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr Alwi Shihab in Bangkok in the next couple of days to voice New Zealand's deep concern over the death of a New Zealand soldier in East Timor.

"The Prime Minister Helen Clark has already expressed the Government's sympathy and deepest condolences to the family of Private Leonard Manning. Our thoughts are with Private Manning's family and with his fellow soldiers.

Private Manning was shot dead yesterday in an exchange of fire with militia near the West Timorese border.

"Dr Shihab and Indonesia must take responsibility for law, order and security in and around refugee camps in West Timor.

"This tragic incident underscores the urgent need for renewed determination to disarm and disband militia groups.

"New Zealand is concerned about the slow progress being made to resettle East Timorese from refugee camps in West Timor.

"These camps continue to provide cover for the ongoing existence and activities of the militia.

"The office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is currently in negotiation with the Indonesian government to accelerate the repatriation of refugees.

"I will be asking Dr Shihab to reach an early agreement with the UNHCR to lessen the chances of another tragedy of this nature."

Mr Goff leaves today (1.45pm) for the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Bangkok. He will meet with Dr Shihab there. The exact time of their meeting has not yet been determined.

ENDS

Contact: Paul Goldsmith 04 471 9794 025 477 982
And Tim McIvor, travelling with Minister, 021 648 228


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