Outgoing Commander Highlights East Timor Defence Force Development

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25th February 2010, 06:38pm - Views: 699

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Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545

MSPA 046/10

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Outgoing Commander Highlights East Timor Defence Force


The Commander of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in East Timor, Commodore

Stuart Mayer, concludes his four month deployment today (25 February), passing command

of the joint Australian and New Zealand force to Colonel Simon Stuart.

Commodore Mayer applauds the ongoing development of East Timor’s military and police

and says they are evolving into more modern and professional security organisations.

“East Timor’s military and police have come a long way since the upheaval of 2006,”

Commodore Mayer said from Dili. 

“The military and police have shown greater discipline and respect for the rule of law and are

increasingly able to coordinate and work together.  

“Many of the practices and approaches to civil safety and security that we have been

encouraging are now appearing in the field.  

“These professional improvements are taking place not because we are telling the East

Timorese what to do, but because their police and military are taking charge of their own

futures,” Commodore Mayer said. 

Commodore Mayer says while the ISF maintains the capacity to act swiftly, should trouble

arise, he is confident that such a request will be rare as the people of East Timor are

committed to moving beyond violence and building a stronger future.

“Looking around East Timor today people are less worried by security matters and are more

concerned with issues such as education and jobs,” Commodore Mayer said.

“This evolution is an indication of a country with confidence that peace is here to stay and

they now want to move on to the next challenges. 

“The fact that we have been able to move beyond these security issues is rewarding for all

Australian and New Zealand service personnel who have deployed to East Timor,”

Commodore Mayer said.

Improvements in the security situation in East Timor have enabled the ISF to draw down the

number of personnel currently deployed to East Timor from 800 to around 550 personnel, of

which 400 are Australian.  The ISF assists the Government of Timor-Leste and the United

Nations to maintain stability and security for the Timorese people.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

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