Subject: NZ To Extend Peacekeeping In East Timor To Nov '02

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Dow Jones Newswires December 16, 2001

NZ To Extend Peacekeeping Effort In East Timor To Nov '02

WELLINGTON -- New Zealand has agreed to a United Nations request to maintain its peacekeeping commitment in East Timor until November next year, Defense Minister Mark Burton said Monday.

"In May this year, we informed the United Nations that New Zealand was prepared to maintain a battalion-level contribution until November 2002, if asked to do so. The United Nations Secretariat has now made that request," he said at a regular post-Cabinet media briefing.

The minister said the NZBATT5 battalion, which consists of about 660 soldiers, was recently deployed to East Timor and will remain there until May.

The extension of New Zealand's presence until November will be achieved through the deployment of NZBATT6 battalion, he said, and the continuing presence of Iroquois helicopters from the RNZAF 3 Squadron, he added.

The U.N. has been informed that no further battalion-level contributions will be possible from New Zealand beyond November 2002, however, when New Zealand's military presence will be significantly reduced, he said.

-Dow Jones Newswires; 644 4715990;

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