Subject: ABC: Troops in E Timor to maintain 'election posture' until June

ABC News Online

Monday, May 14, 2007. 7:02am (AEST)

Troops in E Timor to maintain 'election posture' until June

The commander of security operations in East Timor says the role of Australian troops in the country will be reassessed in eight weeks.

Brigadier Mal Reardon is leading the International Stabilisation Force in East Timor and says the calm conduct of locals during Friday's presidential elections is proof the country is moving forward.

Australian troops have been in the capital Dili for nearly a year in the wake of civil unrest.

Brigadier Reardon says the people of East Timor have embraced the democratic process in a peaceful way.

He says despite the calm, Australian troops will maintain their "election posture" until the end of June.

"We will in fact [be in the country] through to the announcement of the election outcome, just to ensure that that there's a good security presence throughout East Timor," he said.

"And to provide that confidence to the people that ourselves and UNPOL (United Nations police force) have got a very good security plan in place."

He says he is confident life in the troubled region will continue to improve.

"The election period is very important for the future of the country and we have the parliamentary elections coming up on June 30," he said.

"If we see a similar sort of outcomes in terms of security in those elections, as we've seen in the recent presidential elections, then I'm hopeful that things will continue to improve."

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