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Cablegate: Uss Port Royal Conducts Successful Visit to Dili

VZCZCXRO0721
OO RUEHDT
DE RUEHDT #0395/01 3620528
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 280528Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3797
INFO RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA IMMEDIATE 0940
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 0839
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA IMMEDIATE 0055
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR IMMEDIATE 0048
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 0807
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHOVVKG/COMSEVENTHFLT
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 3210

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DILI 000395

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

SEVENTH FLEET FOR VADM CROWDER
PACOM FOR POLADS, STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL TT
SUBJECT: USS PORT ROYAL CONDUCTS SUCCESSFUL VISIT TO DILI

1. (SBU) Summary. The USS Port Royal visited Dili on December
10-12, a visit that all of Post's contacts characterized as
extremely successful. The ship's engagements with the host
nation, the United Nations Integrated Mission to Timor-Leste,
and the Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF)
were well and tightly executed. The citizens of Dili welcomed
community relations activities undertaken by the Port Royal's
crew, its captain's generous donation of toys and medical
equipment to a major local charity, and the presence of our
sailors able to enjoy liberty. Senior GOTL officials, including
the President and Speaker of Parliament, visited the Port Royal
and emphasized their appreciation for the return of a U.S.
warship to Timor waters. End summary.


2. (SBU) The December 10-12 visit of the USS Port Royal (PRL)
was very well-received and successfully conducted. Major events
were as follows: four community relations activities (COMRELs)
consisting of two schools and one chapel painted, and equipment
at the National Hospital repaired; one Project Handclasp event
with the Dili Diocese which involved the donation of four
pallets worth of toys and hygiene products; office calls to the
Secretary of State for Defense, the Timor-Leste Defense Force

SIPDIS
(F-FDTL) Commander, and the ISF Commander; a VIP reception
aboard ship which included a senior UN delegation; a soccer
tournament between teams from the PRL, ISF, and F-FDTL; ship
tours provided to both the President of the Republic and to
F-FDTL's maritime component; and deck landing qualification
training with helicopter pilots from the ISF. The ship's
captain also attended a reception hosted by the Japanese
Ambassador to Timor-Leste. Several of these events were
favorably covered by the local media.


3. (SBU) Anchorage for the PRL was established about two
kilometers out from Dili Port due to the relatively shallow
water depth within, was open and safe, and no complications were
encountered. According to the ship's captain, security in the
Dili pier area was excellent. Local officials established
vehicle entrance control measures, to include an armed detail
which oversaw personnel entrance into PRL's service boat launch
site.


4. (SBU) Liberty for sailors included access to entertainment
spots along the Dili beachfront, extending from the Embassy Dili
in the west, to the Christo Rei beach in the east. Scuba diving
and snorkeling tours were also organized and conducted for a
total of about 15 sailors. The U.S. Navy's regional husbanding
agent, Glenn Marine, arranged for bus transport of sailors along
the beachfront. Additionaly, the Embassy was able to provide a
drinks and barbeque concession to nearly 100 sailors who visited
the compound's swimming pool. Sailors were given a back-on-ship
curfew of 1900 hours daily, and there were zero adverse
incidents. Additionally, local proprietors emphatically
remarked as to the courteousness of sailors encountered, and
Timorese coordinators at the respective COMREL sites were very
pleased by the effort sailors put into their projects.


5. (SBU) The visit was dependent upon security provided by a
combination of forces from the United Nations Police (UNPOL),
ISF, and F-FDTL. Principal logistical support was provided for
by the ISF. Also, there was coordination between the PRL's
shore police, with both UNPOL and the ISF's military police.
The PRL had a liaison officer posted in the UNPOL National
Operations Center during time in which sailors were at liberty.


6. (SBU) Embassy Dili initiated extensive coordination with
the ISF, UNPOL, and F-FDTL as soon as PRL's visit plans were
confirmed. As Timor-Leste is a country which includes a
non-U.S. led military joint task force, an active UN
peacekeeping operation, and both national police and defense
forces all operating within the same space, the challenges were
unique. However, the visit's execution occurred with few
complications particularly because of the willingness of all
agencies to both support and participate in PRL-related
activities.

DILI 00000395 002 OF 002


7. (SBU) While non-USNS Mercy ship visits to Timor-Leste were
once fairly routine, there have been none in nearly three years.
The result has been the loss of a great deal of historical
knowledge regarding the preparation for a U.S. naval visit to
Dili. Due to the challenges associated with the conduct of ship
visits to Timor-Leste, including limited resource capabilities
among local vendors, greater attention must be paid prior to a
ship's arrival to coordination with the numerous non-U.S.
entities operating here, including UN and ISF, international
actors responsible for local security. This will ensure that
timelines proposed by Embassy Dili are as close to being
realistic as possible, within the context of a visiting ship's
operational tempo.


8. (SBU) Therefore, we recommend that future ship visits be
preceded whenever possible by advance parties (ADVONs). ADVONs
could lay the basis for the conduct of COMREL activities,
particularly as it relates to materials and manpower needed, and
conduct local purchases as required; coordinate with UNPOL and
the ISF within the context of Timor-Leste's peculiar security
environment; and coordinate with UNPOL, the ISF, and F-FDTL on
potential bilateral or multilateral training and logistical
support opportunities. All of these activities require less
than 48 hours to conduct, so the duration of an ADVON to
Timor-Leste would be relatively minimal.


9. (SBU) Comment. While the challenges associated with ship
visits to Timor-Leste may be somewhat higher than at other ports
of call in the region, the opportunities are also great. Ship
visits here allow very positive interaction with the citizens
and leaders of Timor-Leste, a vulnerable nation exceedingly
friendly towards the U.S., and provides our forces the chance to
engage operationally with United Nations forces, as well as
those from our ally Australia in the ISF. For the first time in
too many years, the USS Port Royal proudly showed the American
flag in Dili. We are eager to welcome and support future visits
of U.S. naval vessels and other U.S. forces to Timor-Leste.
KLEMM

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