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Letter : Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand,
8 September 1999
24 Grey Street
8 September 1999
The Rt Hon Jenny Shipley
Office of the Prime Minister
Dear Mrs Shipley
We write, on behalf of the 11 member churches of the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand, to express our deep concern at the growing crisis in East Timor, and the failure of the NZ Government to take more direct action in this regard.
As the situation in East Timor worsens by the hour, it is clear that the time for 'quiet diplomacy' has well and truly passed. While economic and military sanctions remain important, more direct and urgent intervention is required.
We would strongly urge you, Prime Minister, as leader of the host nation for the forthcoming APEC conference, to place the East Timor crisis on the formal agenda for the state leaders as a matter of urgency. While we acknowledge that in the ten-year history of APEC, the primary focus of the leaders' meeting has been economic, we would observe that in the same period there has not been a situation of such grave humanitarian concern occurring on our very doorstep.
The gathering in Auckland this weekend of such a key group of international leaders affords your Government a unique opportunity to express the Asia-Pacific region's humanitarian concern on this matter.
We implore you, on behalf of the Christian community in Aotearoa New Zealand, not to ignore this opportunity - indeed, this responsibility - but rather to utilise it for the sake of the East Timorese people.
on behalf of the Presidium
Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand
Link to main East Timor page