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Nationwide welcome home for INTERFET peacekeepers.



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MEDIA RELEASE     The Hon. John Moore, MP

Minister for Defence

Tuesday, 4 April 2000 MIN 068/00

Nationwide Welcome Home for INTERFET Peacekeepers  

Australians across the country will have an opportunity to welcome home the soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who took part in the successful East Timor peacekeeping operation.

The Minister for Defence, John Moore will be joined by the Governor General, Sir William Deane, the Prime Minister, John Howard and the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley at parades in Sydney on 19 April and in Townsville on 16 May.

Units which served in Korea and East Timor will also be involved in the dedication of the Australian National Korean War Memorial in Canberra on 18 April by the Governor General in the presence of the Prime Minister.

In addition to the Sydney and Townsville parades, members of INTERFET also will be honoured at events in Perth and Darwin, and acknowledged during Anzac Day celebrations throughout the country.

The national welcome home activities follow the Parliamentary function hosted by the Prime Minister last month. Details of major events are:

· Canberra 18 April - members of INTERFET will take part in the dedication of the Australian National Korean War Memorial; · Sydney 19 April - about 1200 members of INTERFET will take part in a march through city streets; · Perth 25 April - INTERFET representatives will be honoured during the traditional Anzac Day AFL match; · Townsville 16 May - a march through the city by 3 Brigade and RAN and RAAF elements; · Darwin 20 May - a march through the city for 5/7 Battalion RAR on its return from East Timor.

"As the welcome home activities continue, it is important to remember that Australia continues to support the UN peacekeeping operation UNTAET with about 1,500 personnel," Mr Moore said.

"In addition, 400 logistic support personnel will remain with the UN operation until 30 June. Australia also is providing two landing craft and four Black Hawk helicopters, the latter specifically for night medical evacuation tasks."

More information is available from Jim Cannon at Defence Public Affairs on 02 6265 1263 and 0410 626395.

Chris Wordsworth -- Media Adviser -- 02 6277 7800  0419 982 482  Fax: 02 627 34118