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Skyhawks to Indonesia - Letter

Peace Movement Aotearoa

PO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173,

Forwarded : Rod Donald's letter to Don McKinnon re impounding the Skyhawks currently being refurbished ...

21 May 1999

Rt Hon Don McKinnon
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Parliament Buildings

Dear Don,

In light of your comments during the public session of your briefing on East Timor to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee, when you acknowledged there is well-founded evidence the Indonesian military has been arming the pro-Indonesian militia in East Timor, I am requesting that you impound the two Indonesian Shyhawk jet trainers currently being refurbished in Blenheim.

While we accept that these particular jet planes are not armed and are unlikely to be used in East Timor, we believe there is an important principle at stake. If these planes had belonged to the Yugoslav government, I am sure that you would not hesitate to impound them despite assurances from Mr Milosovich that they would not be used to harm innocent civilians in Kosovo. We believe the same argument applies in East Timor no matter what assurances you may have received from President Habibie and General Wiranto.

From our perspective, the bottom line is that the Indonesian military have been aiding and abetting the killing and terrorising of innocent East Timorese civilians. It is important that we take a strong stand against ethnic cleansing whether it occurs on the other side of the world or in our own back yard.

We therefore believe that you should impound these military jets on humanitarian grounds. Refusing to hand the Skyhawks over to the Indonesian military makes it clear to their government that New Zealand finds the intimidation and violence which the military is both tolerating and facilitating to be totally unacceptable.

I look forward to your serious consideration of this appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Rod Donald MP

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