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Timor Update: Failed Coup Blamed For Timor Unrest

Timor Update: Failed Coup To Blame For Timor Leste Violence

Compiled by Selwyn Manning - Scoop co-editor

NZ Commits 200 Troops To Timor - U.S-based security monitors are reporting that a failed coup is to blame for the clashes between Timor Leste security forces and former soldiers, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said Friday, May 26. Stratfor, a leading security consulting intelligence agency, reports Australian special forces have secured Dili airport, but lack approval from Alkatiri or President Xanana Gusmao to activate the remaining troops on standby. The intel-report states that neither Australian Prime Minister John Howard nor other officials had been able to contact Timor Leste's leaders prior to troops engaging in Dili.

The intel-report states that neither Australian Prime Minister John Howard nor other officials have been able to contact Timor Leste's leaders.

On Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that her government would dispatch 200 troops to Dili to assist a multi-national security force. The first of the Kiwi troops will be in Timor Leste by tonight (Saturday evening NZ time).

Earlier Helen Clark announced a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 and a Hercules C130, would be deployed via Darwin, Australia. The military contingent would later join Australian troops in Dili.

She said New Zealand and Australian officials are continuing to talk with Timor Leste representatives about the details of engagement in Timor "so that appropriate rules of engagement can be determined".

Helen Clark said that the situation on the ground in Timor Leste had deteriorated seriously with chaos and murders on the streets of the capital, Dili.

“The United Nations Security Council has made its concern clear and expressed its full understanding of the request made by the Timor Leste government for assistance to Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Portugal," Helen Clark said in a statement.

“I have spoken late Thursday evening with the Secretary-General of the United Nations who has expressed his thanks to each of the four countries approached by Timor Leste for their willingness to assist.

“Given the distance of New Zealand from Timor, it is appropriate to position New Zealand airlift capacity in Darwin now, both to assist with evacuation if required, and with troop transport as required," Helen Clark said.

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