Exclusion would send Indonesian military a strong message

Green MP Keith Locke wants New Zealand to advocate Indonesia’s exclusion from a naval symposium scheduled to take place in Auckland in early November.

“It’s quite clear that elements of the Indonesia armed forces are still encouraging militia terror in West Timor, threatening the lives and well-being of 120,000 refugees,” said Mr Locke.

“We could send the Indonesian military a very strong message by excluding them from the symposium.

“This is the time to act. West Timor is at crisis point following the killing of three United Nations workers and the evacuation of all aid workers,” he said.

“New Zealand has ended all bilateral military contacts with the Indonesian military. To propose that Indonesia not attend the symposium would be consistent with this.

“Back in February the New Zealand Defence Force argued that Indonesia should be invited because ‘the new Indonesian government is bringing the TNI [the military] under civilian control for the first time’. [See February 15 briefing paper.]

“Seven months later, as shown by the killings in West Timor, this is clearly not true. Key elements of the Indonesian military are pursuing their own murderous agenda, fostering militias hostile to East Timor’s independence,” said Mr Locke.

Keith Locke MP: 025 528 353

Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090