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Troops deployed to Timor Leste


26 May 2006 Media Statement

Troops deployed to Timor Leste

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced tonight that the Government has authorised the deployment up to 200 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to Timor Leste.

Helen Clark said that up to twelve Defence Force personnel would be deployed to the Timor Leste capital, Dili, as soon as possible to liaise with Australian forces, ahead of the arrival of an NZDF infantry platoon of around 42 personnel and an infantry company of about 120 personnel. In addition, other personnel will be involved in support roles.

The New Zealand force is part of an Australian-led international stabilisation force, which also includes troops from Portugal and Malaysia.

"Tonight's decision by ministers comes as the situation in Timor Leste continues to deteriorate. There has been serious loss of life today and the international community must assist the Timor Leste government re-establish order. New Zealand will play its part."

Helen Clark said the platoon, which arrived in Townsville today in a Hercules C130, would arrive in Timor Leste first. It will be joined by the company, which is expected to leave New Zealand in a RNZAF 757 within the next 24 hours.

Helen Clark said the platoon would provide security for the New Zealand embassy in Dili in the first instance.

Ministers have also agreed that the Hercules C130 and RNZAF 757 would be used to transport New Zealand and Australian troops over the coming days. Eight air movement personnel, who have been assisting the Australian forces in Darwin, will also extend their stay.

ENDS

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