McKinnon should impound Indonesian warplanes

The Green Party is calling on Foreign Affairs and Defence Minister, Don McKinnon, to impound two Indonesian airforce skyhawk jet trainers currently being refurbished in Blenheim until the Indonesian government disarms the pro-Indonesia militia in East Timor.

At a briefing to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee in Wellington today, Don McKinnon acknowledged there is well-founded evidence that the Indonesian military has been arming the militia.

“We are calling on the New Zealand government to take action to stop the killing and terrorising of innocent East Timorese civilians at the hands of the government-backed militia,” said Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke.

“We believe these military jets should be impounded on humanitarian grounds.

“Refusing to hand the Skyhawks over to the Indonesian military makes it clear to their government that New Zealand finds the intimidation and violence which the military is both tolerating and facilitating to be totally unacceptable,” he said.

Green Party members will be participating in a demonstration at the Woodbourne air base this Sunday (May 23, 10.30am) where the Skyhawks are being refurbished.