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Martin welcomes announcement of United Nations force.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Hon Stephen Martin MP

Shadow Minister for Defence

Federal Member for Cunningham

 

26 October 1999

 

MARTIN WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF

UNITED NATIONS FORCE

 

The Shadow Minister for Defence, Stephen Martin, today welcomed the United Nations Secu rity Council’s unanimous approval of a United Nations force to lead East Timor to independence.

 

Mr Martin said, “The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) will play a critical role over the next two to three years, building on the excellent work that has already been done by the interim INTERFET force.

 

“The United Nations has sensibly granted UNTAET a Chapter Seven mandate which allows the use of force, and of course it has the power to exercise all legislative and executive authority, including the administration of justice.

 

“This is good news for the people of East Timor, and also good news for the families and friends of our troops in East Timor who now have at least a slightly firmer idea of when they might expect their loved ones to start coming home.

 

“Australia’s continuing contribution of up to 2 000 troops is significant given a total force size of almost 11 000 United Nations troops and police, and clearly demonstrates the strength of our commitment to helping the people of East Timor.

 

“Whilst the move to a United Nations operation will help ease the burden of the cost of the operation in East Timor to Australia, it must be understood that we will still require an increase in Defence spending particularly as we grapple with difficulties presented by block obsolescence.

 

“Additionally, today’s announcement also puts Australia in a better position to start to engage with Indonesia, and to start rebuilding the relationship”, said Mr Martin.

 

 

More Information:  Amanda Forman on (02) 6277 4363 or 0413 602 230.

 

 

att  1999-10-28  09:23