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Kiwi Troops Prepare for Timor-Leste Elections

New Zealand Defence Force

Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Advisory

Tuesday, October 31, 2006.

Kiwi Troops Prepare for Timor-Leste Elections

145 NZDF personnel are training hard for their deployment to Timor-Leste next month. During their six-month tour they will oversee the election process which is expected to run in early 2007. Departing on November 23, the troops will replace the infantry company sent to Dili in May this year as part of the international coalition task force.

The contingent commander Lieutenant Colonel Kent Collard believes the training has been comprehensive and has prepared personnel for any potential situation that they may face. “We have endeavored to make the training realistic and challenging,” he says.

The company group will complete their six-week pre-deployment training at Linton Military Camp near Palmerston North next week. They will then spend two weeks with their families prior to departure.

--


Background

NZDF has an Infantry Company and support personnel in Timor-Leste as part of the Australian-led Joint Task Force. More than 200 NZDF personnel were deployed to Timor-Leste following unrest in the nation in May. These troops have provided support to the police and assisted with logistical and support tasks.

UNMIT

On 25 August 2006, the UN Security Council established a new expanded mission in Timor-Leste for an initial period of six months.

The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) mission includes up to 1,608 police personnel and an initial component of up to 34 military liaison and staff officers. UNMIT and the Australian-led Joint Task Force are working alongside one another to bring security and stability to Timor-Leste.


Colonel Graeme Williams, of the New Zealand Army, took up the position of Chief Military Liaison Officer with the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT) in early October. He is responsible for the operational organisation, functioning and effective conduct of 34 United Nations military liaison officers assigned to UNMIT.

A NZDF officer has remained posted as UN military liaison officer since April and will be replaced in December.


ENDS

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