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Death of New Zealand peacekeeper in East Timor.

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Media release Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer

25 July 2000

Death of New Zealand Peacekeeper in East Timor

I am deeply saddened by the news that a New Zealand peacekeeper has been shot dead by suspected militia members near the East Timor border with west Timor.

On behalf of all Australians I extend my most sincere condolences to the family of Private Leonard Manning and I condemn the violent behaviour of those who continue to seek to destabilise the process of peace and reconciliation in East Timor.

This tragic incident serves to remind the international community of the remaining challenges it faces in meeting its commitment to the people of East Timor.

I call upon all parties to stiffen their resolve to stamp out militia activity on both sides of the border. While I am conscious of the efforts already made at the most senior levels of the Indonesian Government to deal with this problem, ultimately only they can take the steps which are needed to prevent incidents like this. I urge them to redouble their efforts to bring militia activity in west Timor to an end.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / 0417 226 484

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