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NZ pledges support for Timor-Leste’s future

New Zealand pledges support for Timor-Leste’s future

New Zealand will investigate future assistance for Timor-Leste in areas including community policing, education administration and customs service support, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.

Helen Clark is today holding formal talks in Wellington with Timor-Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and his ministers of foreign affairs, finance, justice, and education.

“New Zealand has a strong record in supporting Timor-Leste’s drive for security and development,” Helen Clark said.

“This high-level visit is a good opportunity to look forward to the role New Zealand can play in Timor-Leste in the future, as the security situation improves and the country develops its national institutions.

Helen Clark said the Timor Leste government is keen to work with New Zealand in a range of areas.

“There is enthusiasm for developing a community policing scheme being piloted in Becora, in the capital Dili, and Suai by New Zealand police officers attached to the UN Mission in Timor-Leste.”

“Community policing is a relatively new concept in Timor, but we know from experience here that working in partnership with communities, government agencies and non-government organisations is an effective way of addressing local problems.

“Now we need to work with Timor and its other international partners to integrate the model we’ve introduced into the existing police system and ensure training can be put in place to support it,” Helen Clark said.

Other opportunities identified for future cooperation between Timor-Leste and New Zealand include:

Development of a programme to support the improvement of rural livelihoods. Building capacity in the Ministry of Education to support the goal of achieving universal primary school completion. Supporting higher education and capacity-building through scholarships and English language training. Support for Customs Service reform and assistance with international customs liaison. Support for public sector strengthening, reform, planning, procurement and financial management. Strengthening the Office of the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice (which combines the role of ombudsmen with human rights and anti-corruption activities). Civic and democratic education programmes.

Prime Minister Gusmao will attend a wreathlaying ceremony at the National War Memorial tomorrow morning. He and his party fly home later in the day, following a meeting with Defence Minister Phil Goff.

New Zealand provides $5 million annually in bilateral official development assistance to Timor-Leste, administered by the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).

New Zealand contributes 25 police officers and several military staff to the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

A New Zealand light infantry company and two helicopters and crews, totalling some 180 personnel, are attached to the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF).


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