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Auckland Journalist Leaves For Timor Today

Auckland journalist James Addis will fly out for Timor this afternoon and will be World Vision’s eyes and ears as the international peacekeeping force moves into East Timor this weekend.

Mr Addis said to Scoop that he will travel first to Darwin and then on to Kupang in West Timor. Once the international peacekeeping force arrives inside East Timor, he will move down into and around Dili.

Yesterday the New Zealand Cabinet agreed on Kiwi deployment and the United Nations revealed that our troops can shoot to kill.

Security Council have voted unanimously to send a multi-national peacekeeping force into East Timor immediately. The mission has been granted broad and robust powers to restore peace and security at any cost.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the public should be under no illusions that there could be conflict and casualties in the mission which is expected to be led by Australian troops.

Australia is committing 4,500 troops and following a special Cabinet meeting last night New Zealand Prime Minister said 420 troops would join the Australians in Darwin by the weekend.

New Zealand helicopters, non-military vehicles and personal carriers are also to be sent and a full battalion of 800 troops will be on standby in case they are required. An SAS contingent of 50 commandos is already in Darwin.

Meanwhile in Jakarta hundreds of angry Indonesian students marched through the streets yesterday warning Australia so stay out of East Timor.

Shouting "Go to hell Aussie" the protesters were cheered on by ordinary Indonesian workers, confirming Australia's status as Public Enemy No.1.

With protests becoming increasingly violent, President B.J. Habibie is under huge pressure to freeze diplomatic ties with Australia.

Indonesian military leaders also continued to push for Australia to be excluded from the international peacekeeping force.

James Addis has reported from Cambodia and other tense spots in Asia. This mission to East Timor, he says, will be the most challenging yet.

Addis has provided Scoop with contact details while he is inside East Timor. Scoop will keep you informed.

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