Mark Burton--New Zealand will continue to help re-build East Timor
New Zealand will continue its military support to East Timor with up to 26 NZDF personnel, to provide specialised
support after New Zealand's battalion is withdrawn in November. The group will be made up of staff officers, United
Nations Military Observers (UNMOs), and trainers to the East Timor Defence Force (now renamed Falintil-Force for the
Defence of Timor Leste, or F-FDTL).
Minister of Defence Mark Burton has announced the decision, which was recently approved by Cabinet.
"I'm pleased that New Zealand is able to offer a continuing level of support to the Pacific's newest nation. East Timor
faces a myriad of economic and social challenges in recovering from years of conflict, including infrastructure
development, matters of law and order, and military training. The contributions made by the remaining NZDF personnel
will be of real assistance in addressing some of these issues," said Mark Burton.
Cabinet approval has been given for up to 26 personnel, skilled in a variety of areas. The team will include Staff
Officers, Communications and Driving Instructors and UNMOs, as well as staff from the Office of Defence Force
Development (ODFD), the Small Arms Training Team (SATT), and the Dili National Support Element.
Mark Burton stressed the value of keeping skilled personnel deployed in East Timor, even after the withdrawal of the
"This specialist contingent represents a significant contribution in its own right. The staff officers have a tangible
input into the planning and implementation of ongoing UN military operations in East Timor. The UNMOs have an important
role in developing relationships between the East Timorese political leadership, the local community, F-FDTL and the UN
Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). In addition, military support to the F-FDTL will help ensure that the local
defence force is trained to a high professional standard and ready to operate independently when the UN withdraws.
"New Zealand's goal is to assist East Timor in achieving stability and good governance, and our ongoing NZDF
contribution is a key factor in reaching that goal."