22 November 2012

International stabilisation force in Timor-Leste concludes mission

ISF Shoulder Patch
ETLJB 22 November 2012 - The Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr in a press release yesterday announced the pending end of Australia's security operations in Timor-Leste.

The Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) will cease its security operations on 22 November and commence withdrawal from Timor-Leste. The ISF has supported peace and stability in Timor Leste since 2006.

The Ministers congratulated the Timor-Leste Government on establishing Timor-Leste as an independent nation and noted that the country has seen its economy grow and institutions strengthen, culminating this year in three successful rounds of national elections, celebrations for Timor-Leste's 10th anniversary of independence, and the formation of a new government.

Timorese security services have risen to the challenge and served their nation well throughout these events.

The UN peacekeeping mission, UNMIT, also made an important contribution during Timor-Leste's transition. UNMIT will end its operation in Timor-Leste at the end of the year. ISF support to UNMIT is an excellent example of Australian forces working alongside regional partners in support of UN efforts to build peace and stability.

Australian Defence Force personnel who served in Timor-Leste have shown great courage and dedication, and built strong personal relationships with Timor-Leste that will last long after the withdrawal of our security forces.

The Ministers also extended thanks and appreciation to their ISF partner, New Zealand, who participated in the ISF from the outset.

The ISF withdrawal will continue through to April 2013 as equipment is repatriated, bases closed and property and buildings returned to the Government of Timor-Leste.

Australia's defence and police engagement with Timor-Leste will continue through the Defence Cooperation Program and Australian Federal Police support to Timor-Leste's police forces.

Through the international aid program, Australia is strongly committed to its partnership with Timor-Leste to provide ongoing assistance to support the Government of Timor-Leste to achieve greater prosperity. The Ministers said they they look forward to a positive and enduring relationship between the two countries that will only grow in strength.

Source: Joint media release: Senator the Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Defence. Edited by Warren L. Wright. Image: Department of Defence

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