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NZ to Downsize Military Commitment to Timor Leste

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

28 August 2006
Media statement

New Zealand to Downsize Military Commitment to Timor Leste

Defence Minister Phil Goff today announced that an improved security situation in Timor Leste and the assumption of security duties by members of the International Police Force means some New Zealand troops deployed to Timor Leste will soon start returning home.

"The security situation has now stabilised and the Police have assumed the majority of the patrolling work. This will enable us to reduce Defence Force numbers in Timor Leste by a platoon of 44.

"We will still need to retain enough troops in Timor Leste to provide support to the Police should it be required and assist with other logistical and support tasks. This group will consist of up to 161. All personnel returning to New Zealand will be home by the end of August.

"Earlier this year, New Zealand Defence force personnel deployed into a volatile and dangerous environment where they performed their duties with integrity and professionalism. They are a credit to New Zealand.

"No decision has been made on when the remainder of troops will return to New Zealand. We will maintain a presence in Timor Leste until stability and security is at the point where the presence of international security forces is no longer necessary, said Mr Goff.


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