The following press statement is to be issued in Canberra later today.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock, said today that the Government had long held the view that the process of decolonisation in East Timor should be based on a proper act of self-determination, preferably carried out with the observation and participation of the United Nations.
'In the case of the consultative acts carried out in East Timor on 31 May and 24 June there must still be uncertainty about how extensive and representative the exercise of self-determination has been,' he said.
Mr Peacock recalled that Indonesia had invited the United Nations to send its representative to East Timor, and had renewed the invitation on several occasions. In doing so, Indonesia and the PGET gave assurances of freedom of movement in all thirteen districts of the territory.
'We ourselves made repeated representations to the United Nations seeking a return visit by Mr Winspeare Guicciardi', he said. 'We encouraged other Governments to make similar representations'.
'We informed the Secretary-General that if Fretilin were able to name an accessible venue in East Timor for a meeting with Mr Winspeare Guicciardi and if all parties had given satisfactory assurances of safety, Australia would have been prepared to consider a request from the United Nations for help with transport'.
The Minister said that the Government regretted, in all these circumstances, that further efforts were not made by the United Nations to play a more decisive role.
'The present situation is that Indonesia has moved, without United Nations involvement, to integrate East Timor as its twenty-seventh province,' he said. 'But in the circumstances Australia cannot regard the broad requirements for a satisfactory process of decolonisation as having been met'.1
[NAA: Al209, 76/55, vi]