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Cablegate: Timor-Leste to Again Abstain On Defamation of Religion

VZCZCXRO6006
RR RUEHCHI RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHDT #0316 3370522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 030522Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4622
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1144
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 1177
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0970
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1357
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 4178

UNCLAS DILI 000316

SIPDIS

STATE FOR DRL/IRF JOANNELLA MORALES/NASREEN BADAT AND IO/HR AMY
OSTERMEIER/COLLEEN NEVILE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNGA PHUM PGOV TT
SUBJECT: TIMOR-LESTE TO AGAIN ABSTAIN ON DEFAMATION OF RELIGION

REF: STATE 122637

1. Political Officer delivered reftel demarche on "defamation
of religion" to the MFA's Director of Bilateral Affairs, Abel
Guterres, on December 3. Poloff informed Guterres that the
United States would again vote no when the resolution went
before the UNGA plenary session for a final vote.

2. Guterres expressed his appreciation for information on the
U.S. position. He recalled some of the public incidents he
believed were motivating the Organization of the Islamic
Conference's efforts, including the publication of cartoons
depicting Muhammad. He acknowledged the free speech argument as
well as the need to protect minority religions, but cautioned
that the support of most ASEAN countries for the resolution, in
particular Muslim-majority countries Indonesia and Malaysia,
made it difficult for Timor-Leste to vote no. Guterres stated
that Timor-Leste would abstain on the resolution, as it had in
the Third Committee.

KLEMM

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