|Subject: DPA: Indonesia pulls out of naval
conference following protests
Also: NZ Greens: Indonesian military pulls back from NZ seminars
October 16, 2000 Indonesia pulls out of naval conference following protests Wellington
Indonesia has withdrawn from a naval conference of Pacific countries in New Zealand next month following protests by human rights campaigners who said they would stage demonstrations over the military's role in East Timor, it was reported on Monday.
The foreign affairs spokesman for the Green Party, Keith Locke, said it was a victory for those "who said we shouldn't have the Indonesian military here when they've yet to take serious action against the militias in West Timor" .
Locke said the New Zealand Defence Minister Mark Burton had told him Indonesia had not registered for the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Auckland from November 8-10.
Last month, Prime Minister Helen Clark rejected calls to bar Indonesia representatives from the conference of 17 nations, including the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
She said it was not a forum about military combat but would discuss peaceful objectives such as disaster relief, search and rescue exercises and methods to combat oil pollution.
The opposition conservative National Party's defence spokesman, Wayne Mapp, said at the time allowing Indonesia to be represented at the symposium "smacks of hypocrisy".
He noted that last year New Zealand had suspended bilateral defence co-operation with Indonesia in response to the crisis in East Timor.
Clark said the symposium was a chance to apply further pressure on Indonesia. "We do want to encourage greater professionalism in the Indonesian armed forces," she said. dpa db jh
----- Indonesian military pulls back from NZ seminars 16 October 2000, 4:25 pm Press Release: Green Party
Oct 16, 2000
Indonesian military pulls back from NZ seminars
Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke believes Indonesian military officials have been pressured to cancel their attendance at two seminars in New Zealand next month.
"It's a victory for those, like the Green Party, who said we shouldn't have the Indonesian military here when they've yet to take serious action against the militias in West Timor," said Mr Locke.
"For weeks our government has been saying it can't stop Indonesia participating in the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, to be held in Auckland from November 8-10. In a letter to me, dated September 18, it was stated that Indonesia would be represented.
"However, Minister of Defence Mark Burton now tells me Indonesia hasn't registered to come to this symposium. [Written answer to Question 17693]. It also won't be attending the parallel Asia-Pacific Military Operations Research Symposium to be held in Wellington, November 7-9.
"It's obvious to me that if there hadn't been public and behind-the-scenes pressure, Indonesia would have attended. They've been blocked from bilateral military contact with New Zealand, Australia and the United States, and would have been keen to make a showing at these multilateral symposia.
"There would have been demonstrations outside the Stamford Plaza hotel in Auckland if Indonesian officers had shown up to the naval symposium
"We congratulate the Government if they've been putting pressure on behind-the-scenes. US Defence Secretary William Cohen has taken a hard line against Indonesian inaction in West Timor, so there may have been pressure from that quarter too. The United States Pacific Command is the main force behind both symposia," said Mr Locke.
The naval symposium is attended by many western Pacific nations. A smaller number, those more closely associated with the United States, will be at the Military Operations Research Symposium. They include - in addition to the US - New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary
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