Australia pushes Europe for support in East Timor

16th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

SYDNEY, June 16, 2006 (AFP) - Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Friday he would push for greater UN involvement in East Timor when he visits Britain, France and Germany later this month.

SYDNEY, June 16, 2006 (AFP) - Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Friday he would push for greater UN involvement in East Timor when he visits Britain, France and Germany later this month.

Australia has deployed 1,300 soldiers to the tiny nation as part of a 2,000-strong international peacekeeping force.

Downer said that during talks in Britain and France — both permanent members of the UN Security Council — he would "put the case for expanded United Nations engagement in East Timor".

Violence erupted in East Timor in March after Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri fired nearly half the nation's army when they complained of discrimination because they came from the country's west.

At least 21 people died as sporadic battles between rival soldiers and police descended into gang clashes.

A UN administration ran East Timor after it voted for independence in 1999 from Indonesia until 2002, but only a skeleton UN teams remains.

Downer did not elaborate how he wanted the international body to expand its engagement.

In Paris he would attend the second France-Oceania Summit, which brings together Pacific leaders, Australia and New Zealand to discuss economic growth, sustainable development and regional stability, he said.

Talks in London with Britain's new Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett would focus on the nuclear stand-off with Iran and the violence in Iraq, he added.

During the June 19-27 trip, Downer said, he would visit Frankfurt, where trade and investment would top the agenda, before watching the World Cup clash between Australia and Croatia in Stuttgart.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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