21 August 2009

Timor-Leste's armed forces celebrates 34th anniversary

Comando Falintil-Forca defeza Timor-Leste (F-FDTL), the armed forces of Timor-Leste, celebrated its 34th anniversary here on Thursday.

Addressing his remarks on the anniversary celebration held in Dili's landmark Palacio Guvernu, the F-FDTL chief commander Taur Matan Ruak said that F-FDTL would secure the country's stability so as to succeed the development efforts conducted by the Timor-Leste government.

"With the help of citizens and the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL), we believe that we can preserve stability to secure the government's continuing development program," Taur said.

The F-FDTL currently comprises two small infantry battalions, a small Naval Component and several supporting units.

The F-FDTL's primary role is to protect Timor-Leste from external threats. It also has an internal security role, which overlaps with the role assigned to the PNTL.

This overlap has led to tensions between the services, which have been exacerbated by poor morale and discipline within the F-FDTL.

The F-FDTL's problems came in 2006 when almost half the force was dismissed following protests over discrimination and poor conditions.

The dismissal contributed to a general collapse of both the F-FDTL and PNTL in May and forced the government to request foreign peacekeepers to restore security. The F-FDTL is currently being rebuilt with foreign assistance and has drawn up a long-term force development plan.

Source: Xinhua
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