TITLE=TIMOR WARNING / L-O
INTRO: Australian Prime Minister John Howard has
renewed warnings about the potential dangers of the
peacekeeping mission in East Timor. As Nino Tesoriero
reports from Sydney, the prime minister's comments
follow the shooting of two Australian soldiers during
a militia ambush, earlier this week.
TEXT: Mr. Howard has again warned Australians the
situation for the multinational peace keeping troops
in East Timor could worsen. Speaking at a political
conference in Queensland Saturday, Mr. Howard said
tensions are likely to increase.
To use his words, the prime minister says there is a
chance the mission could "turn nasty."
Stressing his desire for smooth relations with
Indonesia, Mr. Howard said Australia's role in East
Timor was not as an aggressor, but as part of a
Mr. Howard reviewed Australia's willingness to be a
good friend of Indonesia over the years, making note
of Australia's assistance during times such as the
recent Asian economic crisis.
We didn't come to this issue out of a deep-seated
hostility to Indonesia. We are there not as an act of
aggression against the Indonesian state. We are there
as an act of goodwill and peace enforcement to assist
the implementation of the clearly expressed will of
the people of East Timor. That is what this is all
// END ACTUALITY //
Political divisions have widened in Australia over
the government's handling of the East Timor crisis,
following stinging attacks on Mr. Howard's approach by
the former Prime Minister, Paul Keating this week.
Mr. Howard has rejected the criticism, arguing that --
since Indonesia announced the ballot for East Timor -
- there was no way Australia could have ignored the
needs of the Timorese (signed).
Neb / nt / wd
09-Oct-1999 05:55 AM EDT (09-Oct-1999 0955 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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