Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced the end of Australia’s security operations in Timor-Leste.
The Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) will cease its security operations on 22 November and commence withdrawal from Timor-Leste. The ISF has supported peace and stability in Timor Leste since 2006.
We congratulate the Timor-Leste Government on establishing Timor-Leste as an independent nation.
Timor-Leste has seen its economy grow and institutions strengthen, culminating this year in three successful rounds of national elections, celebrations for Timor-Leste’s 10th anniversary of independence, and the formation of a new government.
Timorese security services have risen to the challenge and served their nation well throughout these events.
The UN peacekeeping mission, UNMIT, also made an important contribution during Timor-Leste’s transition. UNMIT will end its operation in Timor-Leste at the end of the year. ISF support to UNMIT is an excellent example of Australian forces working alongside regional partners in support of UN efforts to build peace and stability.
Australian Defence Force personnel who served in Timor-Leste have shown great courage and dedication, and built strong personal relationships with Timor-Leste that will last long after the withdrawal of our security forces.
We also extend our thanks and appreciation to our ISF partner, New Zealand, who participated in the ISF from the outset.
ISF withdrawal will continue through to April 2013 as we repatriate equipment, close bases, and return property and buildings to the Government of Timor-Leste.
Australia’s defence and police engagement with Timor-Leste will continue through our Defence Cooperation Program and Australian Federal Police support to Timor-Leste’s police forces.
Through our aid program, Australia is strongly committed to its partnership with Timor-Leste to provide ongoing assistance to support the Government of Timor-Leste to achieve greater prosperity. We look forward to a positive and enduring relationship between our two countries that will only grow in strength.
The Office of Stephen Smith: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
The Office of Senator Bob Carr: (02) 6277 7500