Letter: Cancellation of Indonesian arms sales

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The Independent Online
Sir: Some time ago I expressed the view that people should view with a certain degree of scepticism the sentiments of the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, that human rights would be the cornerstone of British foreign policy (report, 29 July).

Unfortunately, my concerns have proved to be well founded. Mr Cook is not only going to allow the sale of a further 16 Hawk fighter jets to the regime in Jakarta, but also is intent on supplying British made armoured cars.

Against the background of a recently adopted resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, a new peace initiative by the South African president, Nelson Mandela, and, sadly, a marked increase in Indonesian military oppression in occupied East Timor, Mr Cook's decision is nothing short of deplorable.

Some might say at least the Tories were more honest in relation to arms trading. No hiding behind the smokescreen of concern for human rights.

A bad day for New Labour. An even worse one for the beleaguered people of East Timor.

TOM HYLAND

East Timor

Ireland Solidarity Campaign

Dublin

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