TRANSCRIPT: DOORSTOP EAST TIMOR
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE
DATE: 15 APRIL 2011
TOPICS: East Timor security arrangements
SMITH: We have of course for a long time provided assistance to Timor-Leste. We have, now, about 400 members of the Australian Defence Force in Timor-Leste as part of the International Stabilisation Force.
But at some point in the cycle, just as recently Timor-Leste took responsibility for policing matters from the United Nations policing force, so Timor-Leste has to take responsibility for security arrangements.
We do see consideration of that naturally falling after the forthcoming election next year. The Vice Prime Minister and I agreed about one thing- that in the past, whenever there's been a difficulty for Timor-Leste,Australia has responded to any request for assistance, and that will of course continue for all time.
We are great friends, we are neighbours, and we share a very many values in common. Australians remember the assistance that the people of Timor-Leste gave us during World War II. And so Australia will always be ready to respond to requests for assistance by Timor-Leste. But we want to see the modern relationship between Australia and Timor-Leste being a modern defence cooperation between two sovereign nations. We see the prospect for that and the potential for that in the aftermath of next year's election.
Thank you, thanks very much.