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16 November 2008

Australia prepared for war over East Timor

ABC Radio Australia 16 November 2008 16:06:05 - Australia's former foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has revealed the former Australian government under John Howard developed contingency plans in the event the conflict over East Timor's independence ended up in war with Australia.

Militia loyal to Indonesia responded violently to news of East Timor's referendum and the violence continued after the vote for independence.

Australia led a United Nations sanctioned peace-keeping force in East Timor.

The then-head of the Defence Force, Chris Barrie has told the ABC television program The Howard Years that war with Indonesia could have been the result.

Mr Downer says the Government was prepared for the worst.

"We had American forces that could've been deployed pretty quickly as well from the Pacific. So we did have contingency plans," he said. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/200811/s2421006.htm?tab=australia

Image: Alexander Downer was Australia's foreign minister when widespread violence and destruction erupted in East Timor over the autonomy referendum that ended Indonesia's bloody rule in 1999.

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