The Commander of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in East Timor, Colonel Simon Stuart, concluded his eight month deployment passing command of the joint Australian and New Zealand force to Colonel Mick Reilly last Saturday.
Colonel Stuart praised members of the ISF and reflected on the improvements he has seen in East Timor.
“I am really proud of the ANZAC team who comprise the ISF, for all of their dedication and hard work over the past eight months. They have been quiet achievers and have done a sterling job by any measure,” said Colonel Stuart.
“Much of their work will have enduring effects for the people and Government of East Timor who are enjoying the benefits of a lasting period of stability.”
“East Timor continues to face many challenges, but we need to recognise that there is progress being made all the time in this young nation.”
“In our work with the Defence Cooperation Program alongside the F‑FDTL (the Defence Force of East Timor) we have seen encouraging progress, particularly in terms of planning capacity. I think there is a real sense of hope for the future here,” said Colonel Stuart.
The new Commander, Colonel Reilly, said he is looking forward to continuing the effective work of the previous ISF rotations.
Throughout October over half of the 400 Australian troops in East Timor will be replaced after successfully supporting the Government of East Timor and the United Nations in maintaining a stable and secure environment for the ongoing development of the country.
The departing troops arrived in the ISF between February and June 2010 and include members from the 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Signals and Combat Support units and members of the Royal Australian Navy and Air Force.
The troops will be replaced by the same number of personnel from the ADF, including the Army Reserve, mainly from 11 Brigade based in Queensland.
The ISF will maintain a rapid response capacity during the changeover of personnel that can be deployed throughout East Timor if significant civil disturbances were to occur.
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