Subject: Australian Police to serve independently in Dili

AFP to serve independently in Dili

February 15, 2008 - 2:28PM

The extra Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers despatched in Dili will operate independently of United Nations and East Timor forces.

The federal government boosted Australia's presence in East Timor by about 200 troops and 70 AFP officers after Monday's failed assassination attempt on the tiny nation's two leaders.

The new police do not fall under UN command, unlike AFP officers already on the ground in Dili.

UN deputy chief of mission in Dili, Finn Reske Nielsen, told ABC Radio that the UN was not concerned about the arrangement.

Australian troops in East Timor are aiding the hunt for about 30 rebels wanted over this week's attacks on the nation's two top leaders, Australian Defence Force Chief Angus Houston says.

"We are concerned about these 30 or so people that are running around the countryside creating a problem for the government of East Timor.

"We will assist the authorities here in bringing these people to justice," he said, describing their actions as a "terrible outrage".

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says East Timor has had a kick in the guts this week and thanked the newly arrived Australian Federal Police and troops for their help.

Mr Rudd has been visiting Dili for meetings with his counterpart Xanana Gusmao, following this week's attacks on the prime minister and President Jose Ramos-Horta.

He has promised Australia will "stand shoulder to shoulder" with East Timor into the future.

Mr Rudd met with the newly arrived Australian troops and police at the Australian military base in Dili during a flying visit to the troubled country.

"Of course the length of your deployment will be determined as events unfold," Mr Rudd told the troops.

"But there's going to be work to do, serious work to do, in helping restore this democracy of East Timor which has had a kick in the guts, literally, this week.

"And our job is to put the arm around our friends and help them through it.

"So thanks very much."


Back to February  menu

December 2007
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu