Today marks a significant milestone for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), with the successful conclusion of Operation ASTUTE.
Operation ASTUTE was the ADF’s contribution to the maintenance of peace and stability in Timor?Leste, particularly through the United Nations mandated Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF).
Today sees the return of the last ADF personnel deployed on Operation ASTUTE, and marks the end of the ISF, which has supported peace and stability in Timor-Leste since 2006.
The ISF ceased its security operations on 22 November 2012, and commenced withdrawal from Timor-Leste.
I extend my thanks to all ADF personnel who have served under Operation ASTUTE for the contribution they have made in assisting Timor-Leste to establish a peaceful and independent nation.
I also extend my appreciation to Australia’s ISF partner, New Zealand, for its invaluable contribution throughout the life of the ISF.
In recent years, Timor-Leste has seen its economy grow and institutions strengthen. The 2012 national elections clearly demonstrated the ability of Timor-Leste security forces, both military and police, to manage domestic security.
Australia’s defence engagement with Timor-Leste will continue through our Defence Cooperation Program.
A team of 24 ADF and civilian personnel will remain in Timor-Leste to provide training and mentoring support to the Timor-Leste Defence Force and the Secretariat of Defence.
I look forward to the strengthening and maturing of the bilateral defence relationship between Australia and Timor?Leste in the years to come.
Minister Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999