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Australian Defence Chief Thanks INTERFET Members

BLIC AFFAIRS ORGANISATION MEDIA RELEASE

The Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie, returned from East Timor yesterday after thanking the multi-national participants of INTERFET for their efforts in assisting to bring peace and stability to East Timor under the United Nations mandate.

Admiral Barrie visited units from Thailand, Korea and the Philippines at various locations in the eastern part of the country before meeting with the national contingent commanders in Dili.

"The speed of bringing together this coalition partnership of friends and allies and its professionalism has produced outstanding results on the ground in East Timor," Admiral Barrie said. "This has been a testament to the leadership of all the contingents involved.

"I am thankful for the commitment and support demonstrated by our friends from all parts of the world, but I would note particularly the speedy assistance given by our regional neighbours.

"The other very positive outcome of INTERFET has been the genuine willingness that our region has demonstrated to seek solutions to our own challenges."

Admiral Barrie commented that the success of the coalition came in part from a long-term commitment to cooperate between countries and their military forces.

"Coalitions like INTERFET don't just happen. They are very firmly based on transparency and mutual respect," Admiral Barrie said. "We in the Australian Defence Force will continue to work hard to promote regional stability through cooperation with our friends and neighbours.

"Our neighbour Indonesia will always be important to Australia. It is pleasing to see the prospect of improvements to our relationship following Foreign Minister Downer's recent visit to Jakarta," he added.

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