The Green Party has welcomed Australia’s recognition of East Timor’s right to self-determination and says it opens the way for new ANZAC initiatives.
“The switch brings Australia into line with New Zealand, and enables the two countries to work together for a peaceful solution,” said Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke.
“Two years ago New Zealand dropped its contention that East Timor’s incorporation into Indonesia was ‘irreversible’.
“However, the change wasn’t followed with new diplomatic moves, perhaps because our Foreign Affairs boffins were scared of getting off side with their colleagues in Canberra.
“Now the context has changed. A joint Australia/New Zealand initiative could advance the peace process. A key plank would be the release of Xanana Gusmao, the “Nelson Mandela” of East Timor. It is hard for negotiations to make much progress with Xanana still behind bars in Jakarta,” said Mr Locke.