WikiLeaks cable: Pacific Islands Forum 2004

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

October 6, 2004
SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY JAMES A. KELLY'S AUGUST 8 MEETING WITH NEW ZEALAND FOREIGN MINISTER PHIL GOFF AT PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM IN APIA, SAMOA

Classified By: POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC COUNSELOR KATHERINE B. HADDA, FOR REASONS 1.5(B,D)

1. (U) Summary: Assistant Secretary Kelly, accompanied by Ambassador Swindells, Ed Rindler (INL) and notetaker, met August 8, 2004 with New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff at the Pacific Islands Forum in Apia, Samoa. A/S Kelly and Goff discussed the deteriorating relationship between East Timor and Indonesia, and the possibility of establishing either a UN Commission of Experts or a Truth Commission in East Timor.

Kelly thanked Goff for the GoNZ's contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan, urging NZ to consider alternative means of assistance following the withdrawal of NZ military engineers from Iraq in September. Goff noted that the GoNZ had recently committed to an additional 12-month participation in Afghanistan.

Goff remarked that he was happy with the progress being made on the U.S.-Australia Free Trade\
Agreement (FTA,) and that the GoNZ was subduing its lobbying efforts for an FTA until after the U.S. election in November.

End Summary.


East Timor

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2. (C) Talking on human rights, Goff reiterated the GoNZ's concern over the deteriorating relationship between East Timor and Indonesia. Kelly noted that the USG also had concerns about accountability, pointing to the failure of the Ad Hoc Tribunal For East Timor Indonesian military, as evidenced by the July decision to acquit four Indonesian security guards charged with violence in East Timor in 1999.

Goff emphasized that the international community must set a strong precedent for justice, and hold those who committed crimes to account. He favored the establishment of an International Crimes Tribunal for East Timor under UN jurisdiction, but recognized that this was an unlikely outcome, given limited international support for such Tribunals in general. Barring a Tribunal, Goff outlined the Kiwi fallback position - the creation of an East Timor Truth Commission, which would "name and shame" transgressors. He also discussed the possible creation of a UN Commission of Experts (UNCOE.) Kelly agreed that the UN was far more likely to support a Truth Commission than a Tribunal. He added that a UNCOE was a necessary precursor to a Truth
Commission, and that both the scope and term of the UNCOE should be limited. He offered to work with the GoNZ on any of these suggestions, especially following the Indonesian election in September. Goff lamented that the inexperience of Yudhoyono's political base made decisive action on justice in East Timor and autonomy in West Papua and Aceh unlikely.

Iraq and Afghanistan

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3. (C) Kelly thanked Goff for the GoNZ's contributions to OIF. He noted that security in the build-up to the UN-led election would remain a substantial problem but that there was now a clear distinction between imported and home-grown fighters, and a growing feeling that Iraq is a sovereign nation. Goff remarked that the 61 New Zealand military engineers serving in Iraq would finish their rotation as scheduled in late September but the GoNZ was willing to leave future options open. He emphasized that although the GoNZ would not leave Iraq in the middle of this critical period, for operational reasons there are no immediate replacements planned for the engineering contingent. Kelly urged Goff to
consider additional means of assistance following the withdrawal of NZ military personnel. Kelly also thanked Goff for the NZ-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan. Goff pointed out that the GoNZ had reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan for a further 12 months. He then noted that voter registration in Afghanistan was going well, with almost 8 million people on the electoral rolls. He expressed concern, however, over President Karzai's ability to control warlords and the drug trade, pointing to the increasing trouble in Bamiyan with poppy production.

PNG

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4. (SBU) Goff, in response to Kelly's query, noted that the Government of Papua New Guinea would need continued pressure to conform to the December 31 deadline for the UN Observer Mission in Bougainville. Goff stated that there is no suggestion of civil war erupting in the country, but the infrastructure there remains inadequate.

Free Trade Agreement

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5. (C) Goff remarked that he was happy with the progress being made on the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA.) He noted that NZ Ambassador to the U.S. John Wood was confident of wide support in Congress for a U.S.-NZ FTA, but that the GoNZ was reducing its lobbying efforts until after the U.S. elections. He welcomed any USG assistance in helping with the "psychological impact of investment diversion" from NZ as a result of the U.S.-Australia FTA.

Kelly explained to Goff that the loss of fast-track authority
in the coming year would have a serious impact on all FTAs, and that a new Trade Promotion Authority would be needed. Goff noted that the GoNZ was pursuing a number of free trade channels, including an ASEAN ) Australia/New Zealand FTA beginning in November.

Attendees

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6. U.S.: A/S Kelly
Ambassador Swindells
Ed Rindler
Dorothy Rogers

New Zealand:
Foreign Minister Phil Goff
Amy Steffens, FM's Office
Rene Wilson, Director, Pacific Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Burnett

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