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More New Zealand Troops For Timor

June 29 2006

More New Zealand Troops For Timor

More than 50 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will depart for
Timor-Leste on Saturday 1st July.

Soldiers from the 2/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, at Burnham, and logistics personnel from Linton Camp will fly out on Saturday morning onboard a RNZAF Boeing 757.

Burnham based soldiers will depart from Christchurch Airport, RNZAF Air Movements Terminal at 9.00am. The soldiers from Linton Camp will depart from RNZAF Base Ohakea at 11.25am

The soldiers will replace troops who deployed to Timor-Leste with the outbreak of violence at the end of May and maintain the presence of 170 New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed in the region.

The New Zealand contingent in Timor is making a real difference says Commander Joint Force New Zealand, Rear Admiral Jack Steer.

“We will continue the work of assisting the Government of Timor-Leste in stabilizing their country and by providing support and protection to the local people”, he said.

Background Information


An update of key NZDF activities in Timor-Leste (www.nzdf.mil.nz)
27 June 2006- The Prime Minister Helen Clark announces 25 NZ Police will be sent to East Timor in the next couple of weeks. The NZ Police will be armed and will work alongside the NZ troops and Australian federal police.

20 June 2006- A warning shot was fired by a NZ patrol after encountering an armed crowd who refused to disarm and disperse when directed to do so. The crowd appeared to be threatening a local interpreter accompanying the patrol. The crowd dispersed when the warning shot was fired.

14 June 2006- A NZ soldier while on patrol received a superficial leg wound after being hit by a dart fired by a group of youths as the patrol went to disperse them.

8 June 2006- Defence Minister Phil Goff promises New Zealand troops stationed in Timor Leste will remain as long as it takes to help provide stability. He says while troops can provide some security, they may need to be supported by an international community policing presence.

7 June 2006- Defence Minister Phil Goff and Defence Sectretary Graham Fortune make a brief visit to Timor Leste to meet with NZDF personnel working in Dili. They also meet Timor Leste Defence Minister Jose Ramos Horta and other key leaders to discuss problems leading to the recent crisis.

2 June 2006- Eight New Zealand Army Military Police deployed to Timor Leste to assist in establishing law and order in the troubled region. The Military

Police are providing security to the New Zealand Embassy and to the Ambassador and her staff which will allow them to go about their work liaising with other agencies in response to the relief efforts in Dili.

31 May 2006- A further 123 New Zealand troops arrived in Timor Leste, with four New Zealand Pinzgauer Light Operational vehicles. The deployment of the Delta Company soldiers increases the NZDF presence in Timor Leste to 162.

30 May 2006- A 14-member NZDF planning team is based in Sydney, working alongside their Australian counterparts to determine tasks to be undertaken by the New Zealanders, and ensure the contingent fits smoothly into the international coalition.

29 May 2006- A 42-strong NZDF contingent secures the New Zealand embassy in Dili, protecting the New Zealand Ambassador and other personnel.

27 May 2006- A further 124 soldiers from 2/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment travel to Townsville, Australia, prior to deploying to Timor Leste.

26 May 2006- The Prime Minister, Helen Clark announces the New Zealand government is dispatching an RNZAF 757, a Hercules C130 and New Zealand Army personnel to Darwin

25 May 2006- Following riots, gunfights, looting and burning in Dili,Timor Leste Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta asks for help from New Zealand,Australia, Portugal and Malaysia.

Summary

The New Zealand Defence Force currently has over 170 personnel deployed in support of recent operations in Timor-Leste.

The New Zealanders are working as part of an Australian led coalition. They worked with international forces to stabilise the situation in Dili initially, before providing assistance to restore law and order.

The first New Zealand ground forces arrived in Timor-Leste on Saturday 27 May. The 39 soldiers, an Infantry Rifle platoon, secured the New Zealand Embassy working alongside Australian forces.

A Company-sized group of 124 soldiers relocated from Townsville, Australia on Wednesday 31 May. In country their tasking involves security roles to assist in establishing law and order.

The majority of these soldiers are from 2/1 Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, based at Burnham, New Zealand.
A further eight Military Police from Linton Army Camp departed New Zealand on Saturday 3 June to provide security protection to the New Zealand Embassy and staff.

Four NZDF personnel deployed to Timor as UN advisors prior to recent civil unrest have returned home.

The deployment of New Zealand Defence Force personnel and transport of stores has been undertaken by Boeing 757 and C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Royal New Zealand Air Force, working alongside Australian Defence Force air transport.

East Timor (Timor-Leste) became an independent country on 20 May 2002, marking the end of a three-year process towards independence under the guidance of the United Nations (UN). Since then the UN has provided assistance to East Timor over a period of two years until all control was handed over to the East Timor authorities, however the Council extended its mission for another year to allow the new nation, which had changed its name to Timor-Leste, to attain self-sufficiency.

Throughout this period New Zealand has contributed military personnel as military observers, military advisers, training teams and staff officers.

ENDS


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