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Downer and East Timor's holocaust.



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NEWS RELEASE

 

LAURIE BRERETON MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

 

118/99

19 September 1999

 

DOWNER AND EAST TIMOR’S HOLOCAUST

 

“Foreign Minister Downer acknowledged on the Sunday program this morning that the atrocities in East Timor have been nothin g less than a ‘holocaust’, but he shows very little understanding of his profound diplomatic and moral failure”, the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, said today.

 

“Asked by Laurie Oakes whether the ‘pessimists’ had been proved right, Mr Downer replied ‘Well I suppose that’s right, yeah.”’

 

“Mr Downer falsely claimed that no-one predicted the level of violence which followed the ballot.”

 

“Even if he couldn’t remember the many East Timorese leaders who warned of a bloodbath, he should have recalled the words of Colonel Suratman, the recently departed Indonesian military commander in Dili, who on the Sunday program of 30 May chillingly forecast a pro-independence vote would lead to killings on a greater scale than in 1975:

 

‘If the pro-ind ependents do win, it won’t just be the Government of Indonesia that has to deal with what follows. The UN and Australia are also going to have to solve the problem. And well if this does happen then there’ll be no winners, everything is going to be destroyed. East Timor won’t exist as it does now. It’ll be much worse than 23 years ago.’

 

“Today Mr Downer declared that while the ‘period of violence’ was ‘profoundly unfortunate’, he thought conditions in East Timor would in the end be ‘more comfortable’ for ‘ those who survived ’.”

 

“This is a Foreign Minister who clearly understands and learns nothing.”

 

 

Contact: Philip Dorling (02) 6277 4717 or 0416 203 058

 

 

rw  1999-09-21  09:32