New Zealand Suspends Military Co-Operation with IndonesiaDefence
The Minister of Defence, Hon Max Bradford, tonight announced the New Zealand Government's decision to suspend its programme of military co-operation with Indonesia.
Earlier today Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said the action would be taken to express New Zealand's strong concerns at the conditions which the Indonesian armed forces had allowed to develop in East Timor.
Mrs Shipley said that under present circumstances, close military co-operation with Indonesia was simply not appropriate.
Mr Bradford said that the Government will:
* Halt bilateral defence exercises;
* Suspend and review activities under the Mutual Assistance Programme (for military training);
* Suspend the offer made to train six Indonesian Armed Forces personnel next year; and
* Suspend two military training courses in Indonesia planned for next year.
Two Indonesian officers currently undertaking military skills training with the Navy will be sent home. Three Indonesian military officers and one police officer studying postgraduate Master of Philosophy courses at Massey University will stay, but the date of their repatriation will be reviewed.
Mr Bradford expressed his regret that New Zealand's long-standing relationship with an important regional partner was coming under strain. But the fundamental issue - whether a decision openly and democratically arrived at, should be allowed to be overturned by intimidation - was too important to ignore.
"I fervently hope that Indonesia will quickly demonstrate its readiness to honour the outcome of the East Timor ballot and that Indonesia's armed forces will create the conditions necessary for the East Timorese people to progress smoothly towards the outcome they had voted for.
"Our hope is that this action by New Zealand will be seen by the Indonesian authorities as a further strong expression of international concern and outrage at recent events in East Timor," Mr Bradford said.