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NZ Commits Police To East Timor

New Zealand is to contribute eight police personnel to the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"The UN has asked for a contribution of police for its current mission in Timor. We are able to provide eight officers, who will be deployed in East Timor from next month.

"New Zealand has put a huge effort into securing safe areas for the people of East Timor to settle within. This deployment is part of the next stage of securing a stable and independent East Timor.

"The police will undertake normal policing activity in secure areas, and could be required to carry sidearms as a precaution if directed to do so by the United Nations Civilian Police Commander in East Timor. They will not be part of the troop deployments into less stable areas of East Timor.

"Our police commitment is initially for six months. The United Nations have requested that our police be available once the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) takes over from UNAMET. This will be considered by the Government at that time."

Mrs Shipley said that the Government was committed to playing's its part in securing a viable East Timor.

"We have already committed troops to help bring security in the short term, but East Timor will require a civil police service in East Timor to help sow the seeds of long term security in East Timor. The police personnel we are sending will help in achieving this goal.

"I know the best wishes of all New Zealanders will go with the eight officers as they join other brave Kiwis working for security in East Timor. They join a long list of New Zealanders who have distinguished themselves and their country in peace keeping activities around the world," the Prime Minister said.

ENDS

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