McKinnon Should Get Off Timor Fence

The Green Party has attacked as “insipid” Foreign Minister Don McKinnon’s response to Indonesia’s change of stance on East Timor. “Mr McKinnon should get off the fence,” said Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke.

“The time is well past when we can simply support ‘negotiations’, as our Foreign Minister has done.

“It is an insipid response, which does New Zealand a disservice.

“The statement by Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas has opened up the possibility of rapid movement towards independence for East Timor.

“New Zealand should be pushing for an act of self-determination for the East Timorese, involving a referendum supervised by the United Nations.

“Progress on this would be facilitated by the release of resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, and a withdrawal of Indonesian troops from East Timor. New Zealand should be pushing on both these fronts.

“New Zealand’s response to today’s developments is more cautious than Australia’s. We are replacing Australia as the most conservative Western country on East Timor,” said Mr Locke.