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					TITLE:   East Timor Update                             DATE:       Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    1                                             SOURCE:     Minister Moore’s office


                                        TRANSCRIPT

         HON. JOHN MOORE, MP, & HON. ALEXANDER DOWNER
                   Commonwealth Offices, Melbourne


DOWNER:

Well, let me just say something very briefly about the events of today in terms of East Timor.

First of all, I’m advised the security situation in East Timor is still, completely unacceptable.
There are militias driving around the streets of Dili. There are also TNI soldiers driving around
the streets of Dili.

TNI are still not bringing the militias under any apparent form of control, and we continue to
remain deeply concerned about the security situation. The Australian ambassador’s car was shot
with the ambassador in the car.

The ambassador is perfectly alright, but I’ll have to say that we are absolutely outraged that our
ambassador’s car should have been shot at. The Australian consulate in Dili also has been shot
at with several rounds I understand, and that, equally, is completely unacceptable.

Indonesia says it is responsible for security in East Timor. It also has a legal obligation to
provide appropriate protection to Australian diplomats. For our ambassador to be shot at and for
our consulate to be shot at is completely unacceptable, and obviously that is a matter that we are
pursuing with the Indonesian Government now.

During the course of the day, during the course of last night and today, we have been in intensive
negotiations and discussions with other countries and also the United Nations. I don’t want to
say too much about that, for obvious reasons at this stage. We’ll have to, you’ll have to wait
until we say more about that. The Prime Minister has spoken to Kofi Anan, the Secretary
General of the United Nations, on two occasions today, and there’ve been a number of other
discussions that have taken place during the course of the day.

The United Nations Security Council produced a statement, which, amongst other things,
condemned the violence which is taking place in East Timor, and urged the Indonesian
Government to fulfill its responsibilities for security under the tripartite agreement, and also the
United Nations Security Council is sending a mission to Jakarta to discuss this whole issue of
security in East Timor with the Indonesian Government.

Mr Moore might like to say something about the evacuation and how that’s gone during the
course of the day.

MOORE:

Evacuation plans today ran from three C-130s and they were going to run five flight. Four have
been completed, the fifth flight is about to leave Darwin about now, going into Dili to pick up



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TITLE:   East Timor Update                            DATE:       Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    2                                            SOURCE:     Minister Moore’s office

the rest of the crew, the people that are available to come back to Darwin, and it should be back
sometime around 8PM, I guess, that’s about the time it will get back.

In all, we expect, something close to 250 people. There’s about 150 came in on the first three
flights, we’re not too sure who’s on the fourth or fifth flight yet.

REPORTER:

(Precis: Given what’s going on right now, what can we do about it?)

DOWNER:

Well, as I’ve got nothing more to say other than to run through what I’ve been saying for the last
24 or 36 hours, and that is, we are in intensive discussions with the United Nations about further
action that can be taken, and the United Nations Secretary General is in contact with a number of
people; it’s for him to talk about that, not for me to talk about that; we have a quite clear and a
quite simple position, and that is that given the situation in East Timor, it would be appropriate
for there to be an international security presence on the ground, at the very least, to protect the
United Nations mission in East Timor and to ensure it’s able to remain in situ.

The Indonesian Government is remaining resistant to any such operation and we appreciate it
will take to get a fully-fledged peacekeeping force, but we feel, as I said on Saturday, that it
would be appropriate to develop still further, the proposal to send in a coalition of willing
countries who could provide some armed security initially for the United Nations, but these
negotiations are still continuing at many levels between different individual member states of the
United Nations and with the United Nations Security Council.

The Indonesian Government, of course, is now under intense pressure, not just from Australia
but from the international community, for its clear failure to maintain security in East Timor.
The very fact that non-essential staff from the United Nations and generally speaking, foreigners,
have had to be evacuated through he course of today is a very clear demonstration of the failure
of the Indonesian authorities to maintain security. The fact that the Australian ambassador’s car
was shot, the fact that our consulate was shot, simply demonstrates precisely the same point.
The Indonesians are simply failing in their responsibilities and this, of course, is creating
immense concern around the world.

But, the actual concerns about where we’re at with all those sorts of things, who’s talking to
whom, I hope you will excuse me but understandably it’s not going to help advance the case if I
start to get into all that publicly.

REPORTER:

(Precis: Has Australia had discussions with Indonesia today?)

DOWNER:

Well, we’re always in discussions with the Indonesian Government.

REPORTER:


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TITLE:   East Timor Update                             DATE:       Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    3                                             SOURCE:     Minister Moore’s office



Has there been any consideration given to either you or Mr Howard going to Jakarta to press
Australia’s concern?

DOWNER:

They know what our concerns are. There isn’t any need for us to get on a plane to tell them what
our concerns are. They know through what we’ve said publicly, they know through my
discussion late last night with Ali Alitas, the Indonesian Foreign Minister. If we feel that it’s
going to take things still a further step forward to go to Jakarta, one of us will go, but, we don’t
have any plans to do that at the moment because, I can say this to you, it’s not blindingly obvious
to me that, that particular move is a move which is going to make a quantum difference. But, the
situation is fluid, that may change.

REPORTER:

(Precis: Are you happy with the way Australia’s efforts have been channelled through the UN?)

DOWNER:

Well, the have to be. I mean, let us try to make sure that everybody understands this and
understands this very clearly. I know this is, sort of, putting it rather melodramatically, but this
is how it is. How it is, is, if we want to send some sort of security force to East Timor and we;
by ‘we’ I mean the rest of the international community; we have essentially one choice, and that
is to do so with the agreement of the Indonesians and the endorsement of the United Nations
Security Council.

If we were not to do that, were not to have the agreement of the Indonesians and the United
Nations security council, then the Indonesians would militarily resist the imposition of such a
security force.

Now, just to put that into perspective just in case in the community there are some sort of Brian
Toohey-style warriors who think this is all an excellent idea, there are between 15,000 and
20,000 Indonesian soldiers and police on the ground in East Timor. Now that is a very large
number, it is a very significant security force, so, people could get into some argument about the
legal state of East Timor under the United Nations and so on. It’s not very meaningful because
Indonesia has a very big security force on the ground in East Timor and therefore this process
can only be pursued through the United Nations and ultimately with the agreement of the
Indonesian Government.

REPORTER:

(Precis: What would be Australia’s role in the coalition of willing nations?)

DOWNER:

Well, Australia is prepared to participate and we are prepared to play a leadership role if that is
thought appropriate by the United Nations, but, that’s not for me to get into. You can ring
around a number of other countries and ask them. It’s not really for me to comment on.


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TITLE:   East Timor Update                              DATE:       Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    4                                              SOURCE:     Minister Moore’s office



REPORTER:

(Inaudible)

DOWNER:

For me, the biggest issue is how are the Indonesians responding and the answer to that is the
question I’m asking myself; just to help you with your story; the answer to that question is that
there is still a great deal more work to do to persuade the Indonesians that this is the right step
forward. But, we are still working on it.

REPORTER:

(Precis: Is the Indonesian lack of appropriate response to the militias some sort of Javanese
payback for shaming Indonesia at the independence poll?)

DOWNER:

It’s something you could write in a column but I don’t think it’s a thing a Foreign Minister could
say. Look, I could make this point to you. There’s a different a point again, and that is, there’s
nothing in it for the Indonesians to be behaving like this and not fulfilling their responsibilities to
ensure security in East Timor.

And there’s nothing in it for the militias to behave like this. The vote is clear, and the vote has
been held and it’s been a pretty fair and a pretty free vote, and the vote has been counted, and the
result isn’t marginal and it’s overwhelming. And nothing that the militias do, or nothing that
people in TNI do, is going to reverse that. That is a fact of life. That vote has happened and it is
there for all time.

It is perfectly clear what the people of East Timor want. That is done in full accord with
international law and the express wishes of the Indonesian Government. There is now nothing
more that can be done through these mindless acts of violence by a handful of thugs and
hoodlums in East Timor. There is nothing to be achieved except bloodshed. It will never
succeed, as, if you like, a political strategy, it will not reverse the result of the vote. And so,
whatever the game the militias are playing, and whatever the explanation for the lack of proper
law enforcement by the Indonesian police and the TNI, whatever the explanation for those
things, people can speculate as much as they like, I can tell you it is not entirely obvious to be
what the motivation is.

I would have thought it is in Indonesia’s best interests; its economic interests, it interests in terms
of its standing in the world, the good reputation of Indonesia and the leadership role that it can
play in our region; for Indonesia to live up to the agreement that it reached on the 5th of May in
New York. And by not ensuring that there is appropriate security in East Timor, they’re not
living up to that agreement.

REPORTER:




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TITLE:   East Timor Update                           DATE:       Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    5                                           SOURCE:     Minister Moore’s office

Mr Downer, have you spoken to Mr McCarthy today? Have you got a sense of how close the
call was and what his position would be?

DOWNER:

I haven’t spoken to him, it only happened fairly recently, but officers of my department have
spoken to him. They said his, the reaction was sort of typical McCarthy, he just wanted to get on
with his day’s work.

REPORTER:

So he was in the car?

DOWNER:

He was in the car when it was hit.

REPORTER:

What were the circumstances, do you know?

DOWNER:

I don’t know all the details but my department might be able to enlighten you.

REPORTER:

(Precis: Earlier today you [Downer] said that there were encouraging signs that Indonesia might
cooperate with a peacekeeping force, is that now not the case?)

DOWNER:

I would say things are moving, moving very slowly. There is still a very long way to go. I think
that is properly an exaggeration of what I said. I didn’t actually say ‘much more encouraging’ or
whatever words you used. There is an enormously long way to go and the Indonesian position is
that they don’t want armed foreign troops on Indonesian soil and that includes East Timor, and
that is their position. Now, whether it is going to possible for the international community,
including us, to move them along, well, it’s too early to be sure, but we’re certainly working on
it.

REPORTER:

What is the response from the Indonesian Government when you are talking to them?

DOWNER:

Well, the Indonesian Government often has given us, in some respects in terms of security,
positive affirmations of their commitment to fulfill their obligations under the 5th of May
agreement.


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TITLE:   East Timor Update                              DATE:        Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    6                                              SOURCE:      Minister Moore’s office



REPORTER:

Do they concede that there is any problem in East Timor at the moment, or are they just saying
things are alright?

DOWNER:

Well, they think that the problem; you’ll have to ask them that question really; but they, the way
they articulate it from time to time, you see it on television and they say it over the phone as
well, that the stories are somewhat exaggerated.

REPORTER:

Do you have any idea of how many people have died and how would you sum up the collective
mood of the Cabinet (inaudible) yet the killings continue?

DOWNER:

Well, the mood of the Cabinet is, regards the situation as profoundly serious. This is a very
serious matter. Australia is taking it extremely seriously and we’re doing everything we possible
can with the resources we have to try to help get a satisfactory resolution. But this is a very
serious problem and it is, it is very disappointing, because it comes on the back of a triumph, and
that is that the vote took place at all, and then it was a relatively free and fair vote, and that there
was a very decisive result. It was obviously; whichever the result went; it was obviously a very
good thing. If it had been a very close result, for example, well then you’d expect it to be
debated and disputed. But this wasn’t a close result. This was nearly 80% in favour, and you
know, whatever claims people may make of irregularities, they’re not going to make that much
difference.

REPORTER:

How serious an option is the option of retaining remaining IMF funds (inaudible) rescue
package?

DOWNER:

The international community hasn’t reached that point, but, you know, Mr Moore said, it must be
a good week ago I think on the ‘7:30 Report’, that Indonesia needs to understand that the
international community has a great deal of involvement in the Indonesian economy, and we
have all provided a great deal of assistance to Indonesia through the economic that has beset it,
has beset the people of Indonesia, and so, you know, obviously there is discussion about those
things.

REPORTER:

Has Cabinet now concluded its consideration of this matter or (inaudible), what happens now
regarding this (inaudible) situation as far as Cabinet goes?



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TITLE:   East Timor Update                             DATE:       Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    7                                             SOURCE:     Minister Moore’s office


MOORE:

Well, there is going to be a gathering of ministers in Canberra tonight.

REPORTER:

A sub-group of Cabinet?

MOORE:

A sub-group, yes.

REPORTER:

The Security Committee?

MOORE:

Not completely, no. A sub-group.

REPORTER:

Will the Prime Minister be there?

MOORE:

Yep.

REPORTER:

Is it likely that, after that meeting, you’ll be able to be more specific about the course of…

DOWNER:

Probably not, probably not.

MOORE:

Look, primarily it’s to bring us up to date with the latest reportings from the Foreign Affairs and
Defence Departments, get our briefings up to date as to what happened today.

REPORTER:

Is it the National Security Committee?

DOWNER:

A lot of those people but some can’t be there. Jiang Zemin arrives tonight and there will be
people there. Somebody has to stay here [in Melbourne] to greet Jiang Zemin.


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TITLE:   East Timor Update                               DATE:     Monday 6th September 1999
PAGE:    8                                               SOURCE:   Minister Moore’s office



MOORE:

There has to be a rearrangement of duties, that’s all.

REPORTER:

Is the next step (inaudible) really up to the UN? You are waiting to hear back something from
the UN that can advance the situation?

DOWNER:

I think that it is enormously important to understand, I mean, this is the paradigm that everyone
in Australia has to, when they think of the issue of East Timor, has to understand, and that is,
short of there being war with Indonesia, which nobody, of course, is canvassing, the only option
for international intervention by an armed body is for there to be agreement reached by both
Indonesia and the Security Council.

Now, you could get into the hypothetical, you could say, ‘well maybe we could get the Security
Council to agree without Indonesia’, but, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. That would not happen.
Believe me. That would not happen, and so, that is the proposition.

If we are to deploy any type of armed presence into East Timor as an international community,
that is the only way it can be done, other than going to war with Indonesia. And this
Government has always ruled out the war option, as you can imagine. I’m sure all Australia
would want us to. I mean, I do not think Australians want us to declare war on Indonesia. Be it,
I don’t mean just us but the international community.

REPORTER:

Who will be meeting with the Chinese President tonight?

MOORE:

John Anderson I think, Anderson.

ENDS




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