Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith — Visit to East Timor

Tomor­row, Fri­day 15 April, I will vis­it East Tim­or to meet East Tim­o­rese lead­ers and vis­it Aus­tralian sol­diers serv­ing in the Inter­na­tion­al Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Force.
This will be my first vis­it to East Tim­or as Min­is­ter for Defence.

In Dili I will meet Pres­i­dent José Ramos-Hor­ta, Vice Prime Min­is­ter José Luis Guter­res, Sec­re­tary of State for Defence Julio Pin­to, and Chief of East Timor’s Defence Force Major Gen­er­al Taur Matan Ruak. 

I look for­ward to dis­cussing with them the achieve­ments and future direc­tion of Aus­tralia – East Tim­or secu­ri­ty cooperation. 

I look for­ward also to meet­ing some of the 400 Aus­tralian sol­diers serv­ing in the Inter­na­tion­al Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Force, or ISF. The ISF also includes a 75-mem­ber New Zealand detachment. 

Since its deploy­ment in May 2006 at the request of East Tim­or, the ISF has helped safe­guard East Timor’s secu­ri­ty. It does so in part­ner­ship with East Timor’s secu­ri­ty forces. 

The ISF has pro­gres­sive­ly drawn down to its cur­rent size con­sis­tent with the pos­i­tive secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in East Timor. 

My vis­it to East Tim­or will also mark the 10th anniver­sary of Australia’s Defence Coop­er­a­tion Pro­gram with East Timor. 

Val­ued at over $10 mil­lion this finan­cial year, the Defence Coop­er­a­tion Pro­gram with East Tim­or is one of Australia’s largest with any country. 

Under the Defence Coop­er­a­tion Pro­gram, Aus­tralia helps build the capa­bil­i­ty of East Timor’s defence force in areas includ­ing engi­neer­ing, mar­itime secu­ri­ty, logis­tics, finan­cial man­age­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Eng­lish lan­guage training. 

Aus­tralia is com­mit­ted to the long-term secu­ri­ty and pros­per­i­ty of East Timor. 

Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Depart­ment of Defence: (02) 6127 1999 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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