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East Timor



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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA

Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

PRESS RELEASE EAST TIMOR

The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade of the Australian Parliament is deeply concerned about the safety and security of the people of East Timor, especially now that almost all the independent observers from the United Nations and the international press have left the province.

The Committee applauds the courage the East Timorese showed and noted the unequivocal view they expressed in the ballot of last week. The violence that has followed the referendum must undermine the trust of people everywhere in democratic processes. The consequences for the Timorese people have been horrific.

The Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade, Senator Alan Ferguson, today wrote to the Chairman of the Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations of the United States Congress, Mr Benjamin A Gilman.

“The Committee believes that it is essential for the United States to give a clear message to Indonesia that the continuation of this situation is unacceptable to the international community. It can only have grave consequences for Indonesia’s reputation and for its ongoing good relations

with the rest of the world.” the Chairman said.

Senator Ferguson urged his counterpart Chairman to seek United States’ Government support for alternative security arrangements in East Timor if the situation does not rapidly improve. In this, the Committee believed that the United States could play a

vital role in encouraging the Indonesian Government to agree to a coalition of willing countries to protect UNAMET and allow it to undertake its mission and to assist in the re-establishment of peace and order in East Timor.

Further contact should be made through:

Mr Colin Hollis, MR, Deputy Chair, JSCFADT: Hon David Jull, MR, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee: Secretariat:

02 6277 4255 07 3299 1159 02 6277 4629

Telephone: 02 6277 2313 Facsimile: 02 6277 2221 PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Email: jscfadUdaph.gov.au CANBERRA ACT 2600