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New defence agreement with Timor-Leste

New defence agreement with Timor-Leste

Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman welcomes a new defence agreement with Timor-Leste, which reflects the strong ties between the two countries.

“This agreement signifies how our bilateral relationship has matured, and it builds on the close working relationship between the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) and the Falintil Forcas de Defesa Timor-Leste (F-FDTL),” Dr Coleman says.

The Timor-Leste Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Jose Luis Guterres, and Dr Coleman, today signed a Status of Forces Agreement setting out the legal basis for NZDF activities in Timor-Leste and vice-versa. Previously, an individual agreement was required for each activity.

New Zealand has made a significant contribution to the security and stability of Timor-Leste. Over 4000 NZDF and NZ Police personnel have served in Timor-Leste, contributing to a number of missions since 1999.

“Security in Timor-Leste has evolved considerably in the last decade, and their police and military provide a stable and secure environment. New Zealand has played a key role assisting Timor-Leste since 1999, and we remain committed to Timor-Leste’s stability and future prosperity,” Dr Coleman says.

“The Status of Forces Agreement captures the warmth and maturity of the bilateral relationship between our two militaries. The F-FDTL is a valued partner and we are committed to maintaining our strong relationship.”

There are currently five NZDF personnel deployed as technical advisers to the F-FDTL, assisting with language training, personnel and logistics management advice, and small arms training.

New Zealand’s defence engagement is complemented by the Timor-Leste Community Policing Programme, a four year, $14.5 million, bilateral programme between NZ Police and the Policia Nacionale de Timor-Leste. This support is part of a $22 million Strategic Framework for Development with Timor–Leste focusing on private sector investment, education and training, security, and justice.

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