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Australian Troops Prepare To Deploy To East Timor

Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Danna Vale and Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove will today farewell troops from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) Group at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney as the Battalion Group prepares to deploy to East Timor.

Approximately 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel are serving in East Timor as part of the Peacekeeping Force (PKF) of the United Nations Transitional Administration East Timor (UNTAET). Their role is to maintain peace and security, ensuring a stable environment so the citizens of East Timor can rebuild their country.

"All Australians can be proud of the excellent work our soldiers have done and are continuing to do in providing a solid foundation from which the new nation can develop," Minister Vale said.

"Almost three years on, solid progress has been made in assisting East Timor's transition to independence, which will come to fruition on 20 May this year, and our Defence personnel have made a vital contribution to securing peace for the East Timorese.

"Holsworthy personnel are an important part of the Hughes local community. As we farewell them today we feel great pride, mixed with some sadness, and our thoughts are with their families who wait for them at home."

"3 RAR is a unit with a proud history and is nicknamed 'Old faithful' for its dependability and reliability," Lt General Cosgrove said.

"I am confident that they will continue the tremendous job our men and women have done in helping to rebuild East Timor."

This will be the second rotation for the Battalion, which first deployed in September 1999 as part of the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET). The 3rd Battalion RAR Group will replace the 2nd Battalion RAR Group who have been serving in East Timor since October 2001.

The 2nd Battalion RAR Group is the largest individual component of Australia's contribution to operations in East Timor. The Group has around 900 personnel and contains elements from various Army units from across Australia. At the core of the group are four infantry companies from the Townsville-based 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. The group also contains armoured and aviation elements, administrative and support elements, including transport, supply, maintenance, medical and dental.


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