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Minister for Defence meets with East Timor Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao.



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THE HON JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

www.defence.gov.au

Friday, 19 September 2008 128/2008

MINISTER FOR DEFENCE MEETS WITH EAST TIMOR PRIME MINISTER, XANANA GUSMAO

The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today met with the Prime Minister of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao, in Dili, East Timor. The pair discussed Australia’s continued commitment to East Timor under Operation Astute and defence and security cooperation. This is Mr Fitzgibbon’s first visit to East Timor as Minister for Defence.

Matters discussed included the International Stabilisation Force presence in East Timor, continued progress of the Defence Cooperation Program, coordination of efforts between other international security sector assistance

donors, and maritime security assistance.

During today’s meeting, both Prime Minister Gusmao - who also serves as East Timor’s Defence Minister - and Mr Fitzgibbon reconfirmed their enduring commitment to the development of East Timor’s Defence Force and regional security.

“Australia’s main roles in East Timor are in the development of a professional East Timorese Defence Force through the provision of training, support and guidance, and assisting in the maintenance of a stable security environment,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Mr Fitzgibbon further noted Australia remains committed to supporting the Government of East Timor, through both the Defence Cooperation Program and the International Stabilisation Force. With the Defence Cooperation Program continuing its program of capacity building the East Timorese Defence Force, and the International Stabilisation Force continuing to provide a range of specified security tasks in support of the Government of East Timor and the United Nations Police.

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664