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Blackhawks Deployed to East Timor

The Minister for Defence John Moore, today announced that the Government will add to Australia's contribution to the UNTAET peacekeeping force in East Timor, with the short-term deployment of an additional four Blackhawk helicopters and approximately 100 personnel.

"The extra Blackhawks will improve the Australian battalion's ability to properly perform its mission in East Timor, and ensure our forces are even better prepared to manage the security situation," Mr Moore said.

"This newly announced deployment has the full support of the United Nations.

"The Australian Government will continue to work closely with UNTAET to ensure that its mission in East Timor can be completed as quickly, smoothly and safely as possible."

The Minister said that there are no plans for any further contributions to UNTAET, at this stage.

"We will, however, continue to closely monitor the situation in East Timor to ensure that the 1,500 Australian troops serving in the UN mission receive all the support they need, " said Mr Moore.

The helicopters will be assigned to the Commander of the Australian battalion group for employment in the Australian area of operations. They will begin to deploy to East Timor from Townsville, from early August.

Chris Wordsworth - Media Adviser - 02 62777800 0419 982482 Fax: 02 62734118 Email: word@defence.gov.au Web: www.defence.gov.au

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