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East Timor - Anglican release

10 September 1999

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia


For immediate release 9 September 1999

"After 24 years of negotiation, protest and bloodshed, the people of New Zealand and the Pacific should be celebrating the birth of a free and independent East Timor. It is with deep sorrow that, on the eve of liberation, we watch as the people of East Timor face yet again dislocation, mayhem and possible genocide," Bishop Paterson, Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia said today.

"As part of a Pacific church with connections in Melanesia including Papua New Guinea and of course Australia, East Timor is our near neighbour while Indonesia is our most populous regional power. We cannot leave our neighbours to be killed or disinherited by the gun," said the Bishop

"Bishops of the Anglican Church stand with Bishop Belo, whom they met in March, and our Catholic brothers and sisters who have maintained their ministry of service in providing leadership, health care, education and spiritual nurture amongst the people of East Timor during oppressive and difficult times.

"We offer the hand of friendship to those members of the Indonesian Government who have sought to bring about a peaceful and just solution which reflects the will of the majority. We implore them to continue the process and to ensure the results of the ballot are implemented", urged Bishop Paterson.

"The Anglican Church joins with the voices of our colleagues in South Africa and Ireland who visited East Timor before the ballot, and those New Zealanders who recently returned, by endorsing their common call for international action and solidarity over the long term to support the emergent new nation of East Timor.

"We also support their call for intervention both at a political and security level in order to stop the killing and deportation of the East Timorese. It is our expectation that the Foreign Ministers, meeting in parallel to APEC, will resolve to bring about the cessation of violence in East Timor and that the APEC Leaders' Conference, chaired by our Prime Minister the Rt Hon Jenny Shipley, will have the courage to endorse such action," concluded Bishop Paterson.

The Anglican Church endorses the work of Christian World Service and Caritas in their appeals for funds soon to be launched. The Bishops encourage Anglicans nationwide to be generous in their offerings towards national reconstruction in East Timor once independence is assured. [ends]

Media Contacts:

Rt. Rev. John Paterson's office 09 302 7201,

Rt. Rev. Murray Mills Convening Bishop for Social Justice. Contact : 06 8358320 (bus) 06 835 7846 (h)

Rev. Jim Greenaway - Social Justice Commissioner Contact - 07 315 4 817

Released by Julia Stuart. Mobile 025 44 2244

Link to main East Timor page

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