Subject: KY: Japan's Kono airs concern over death of peacekeeper

Also: Kono, Downer Agree to Keep Support for E. Timor

Japan's Kono airs concern over death of U.N. peacekeeper in E. Timor

BANGKOK, July 29 Kyodo

Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono on Saturday expressed concern over the death earlier this week of a New Zealand soldier involved in U.N. peacekeeping operations in East Timor, a Japanese official said.

'I hope such incidents will not happen again and urge efforts by the Indonesian government to prevent it,' Kono said in a meeting in Bangkok with Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab.

Shihab told Kono that the Indonesian government is committed to finding out who killed the soldier and trying the offenders in court.

The 24-year-old U.N. peacekeeper died in an exchange of gunfire between members of the U.N. force and an armed group near the boundary with Indonesian-ruled West Timor. He is the first U.N. peacekeeper to be killed in an attack since multinational forces were deployed in East Timor last September.

Shihab asked for Japan's assistance in repatriating East Timorese taking refuge in West Timor, saying support from the international community is essential to realize their return, the official said.

More than half of the refugees in West Timor reportedly want to go back to East Timor if their safety and livelihood can be guaranteed.

The foreign ministers were in the Thai capital for Thursday's ASEAN Regional Forum, a forum on security in the Asia-Pacific region set up by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and related meetings.


Kono, Downer Agree to Keep Support for E. Timor

Bangkok, July 29

Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono and his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer agreed Saturday to continue support for East Timor.

At a meeting in Bangkok, Downer stressed the need for continued support by Japan, Australia, the United States and Europe for the region's independence from Indonesia.

Kono said Japan well understands the situation of the region. It will take much time for East Timor to become fully independent, he said.

On the situation in the Solomon Islands, where tribal disputes have led to frequent armed conflicts, Downer said Australia is mediating between the conflicting parties for a peaceful solution.

Kono said Japan will consider how to deal with the situation, taking Australia's efforts into account.

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