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Extension of commitment to Timor Leste

Extension of commitment to Timor Leste



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Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


26 February 2008
Media statement

Extension of commitment to Timor Leste

Defence Minister Phil Goff today welcomed the decision by the United Nations Security Council to extend the mandate of the UN mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT) for a further year.

He also announced that Cabinet yesterday approved an extension of New Zealand’s deployment of two Iroquois helicopters and 32-associated personnel for a further six months.

“The extension of the UNMIT mandate was expected and is a sensible decision given that the political, security, social and humanitarian situation remains fragile,” Mr Goff said.

“The provision of more than 1600 UN police to Timor Leste and other UN assistance gives that country greater assurance of stability as it seeks to build its own capability and deal with the huge social, political and economic challenges it faces.

“New Zealand’s contribution to Timor Leste includes 25 New Zealand police officers, two military liaison officers with the UN, and 142 New Zealand soldiers serving in the International Stabilisation Force as peacekeepers,” Phil Goff said.

“In addition, New Zealand has for the past 10 months provided two Iroquois helicopters and 32- associated personnel.

“These have provided valuable service, working alongside four Australian Defence Force Blackhawk helicopters. They conduct aero-medical evacuations, transport and extract patrols and re-supply forward operating bases.

“They have assisted in numerous medical evacuations and carried more than 2000 passengers and 20 tonnes of freight.

“The ongoing reinvestment for this assistance means that the helicopters will remain in Timor Leste through to the end of October this year,” Phil Goff said.


ENDS

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