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East Timor: meeting with Bishop Belo.



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NEWS RELEASE · NEWS RELEASE

 

LAURIE BRERETON MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

 

18/99 

23 February 1999

 

 

EAST TIMOR: MEETING WITH BISHOP BELO

 

 

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, met with East Timorese Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, today in Sydney.

 

“Today’s meeting with Bishop Belo provided a valuable opportunity to discuss the rapidly evolving situation in East Timor”, Mr Brereton said.

 

“My discussion with Bishop Belo underlined the fundamental importance of urgent action to establish a climate of confidence and security in East Timor.”

 

“The rise of violence and the activities of the pro-integrationist militias in East Timor are matters of grave concern. East Timorese reconciliation is unlikely to be achieved while paramilitary groups, armed by the Indonesian military, are allowed to engage in widespread violence and intimidation.”

 

“Early deployment of an effective United Nations peacekeeping presence in East Timor would preempt further deterioration of the situation. United Nations peacekeepers would facilitate an orderly and peaceful process of transition. It would also provide security for a substantial international aid effort.”

 

“Foreign Minister Downer should heed Xanana Gusmao’s call for Australia to press Indonesia to disarm the paramilitary gangs and accept a United Nations peacekeeping presence in East Timor. An early commitment to participate in peacekeeping would enable Australia to be involved in planning the operation from the beginning.”

 

“The Howard Government’s dogged determination not to take the lead on peacekeeping runs an increasing risk that the situation will continue to deteriorate with potentially tragic consequences.”

 

“This is an approach which serves neither Australia’s national interests, nor our clear responsibility to do all that we can to bring about a peaceful and orderly emergence of a free East Timor.”

 

 

Contact: Philip Dorling 0416 203 058

 

 

 

LK