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The Hotel Pierre, New York: transcript of doorstop interview: [East Timor]



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7 September 2000

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW AT THE HOTEL PIERRE, NEW YORK

Subjects: East Timor

E&OE……………………………………………………………………………………

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, you spoke to Xanana Gusmao after the lunch or during the lunch. What did you say to him?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well we talked to each other briefly about the tragic events over night in West Timor. I naturally expressed my concern at what had happened. And I indicated to him of course Australia’s continued commitment to East Timor’s future. Everybody is very disturbed about what happened. An unjustified, unprovoked attack on humanitarian workers is always repellent and something that people naturally condemn very strongly.

And it does mean of course that the efforts of Indonesia to restrain the militia must be redoubled. I understand Indonesia’s difficulties and I’ve certainly had very strong assurances from President Wahid to whom I spoke again this morning of the determination of his government to do what it can to control the situation more and to track down those responsible for what has happened.

JOURNALIST:

If East Timor asked for it would you offer any immediate assistance?

PRIME MINISTER:

No Xanana didn’t raise any, make any further requests of me, no.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister what’s your view on relaxing rules of engagement to allow UN forces near the border to take action more quickly?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I haven’t had any proposals put before me in relation to that and I’m not going to make therefore a hypothetical comment.

Thank you.

[ends]

Interviews 2000 | Interviews 1999 | Interviews 1998 | Interviews 1997

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