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Clark: APEC meeting must discuss East Timor

Labour
2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark today called on the New Zealand Government to place the issue of East Timor on the agenda for discussion at the APEC summit next weekend.

Helen Clark said that if the National Government persisted with its line that APEC was a meeting of economies and not of governments, and refused to discuss East Timor when a state of anarchy has descended on the territory, then both the Government and APEC itself would become an object of ridicule.

"Mr McKinnon this morning has referred to discussion occurring 'on the margins of APEC.' Yet there is nothing marginal about what is happening in East Timor or its significance to the wider region.

"Indonesia is a major APEC nation, about to be represented at a major meeting of governments in New Zealand, which has allowed a state of terror and violence to develop in a territory which has voted for secession from it.

"Every possible avenue must be explored to bring pressure to bear on Indonesia either to bring the situation in East Timor under control itself, or to invite others in to assist it to do so.

"For these very serious events, already costing hundreds of lives, not be advanced for discussion by the New Zealand Government at a major summit to be held in our country within the next week would be ludicrous," Helen Clark said.


Contact: Helen Clark, 09 638 8055 or 025 923 237

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