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Defence
MEDIA RELEASE

 
08/02/2010 MECC 31/10
 
 
 
CPA NNN/YY

East Timor honours returning Aussie troops

 

The President of East Timor, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, has presented medals and expressed his nation’s gratitude to nearly 200 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who are about to return home.

 

In the ceremony at the Presidential Palace, President Ramos Horta praised the role Australian personnel have played in restoring and then maintaining peace in East Timor.

 

“Together we have been able to restore peace and security for the people who so much deserved it,” President Ramos Horta said to the members of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF).

 

“As you depart for Australia I wish to thank you for the services you have provided us on behalf of the Australian people.”

 

The assembled Navy, Army and Air Force personnel were awarded with the Australian Service Medal and the Timor Leste Solidarity Medal.

 

The ISF Commander, Commodore (CDRE) Stuart Mayer, was also awarded one of the highest accolades that can be presented by the President, the Medal of Merit (Medhala de Merito), becoming one of only a select few people from outside East Timor to receive the medal.

 

CDRE Mayer thanked the soldiers, sailors and airmen and women for their hard work and commitment as well as highlighting the challenges that lay ahead.

 

“ADF in East Timor have been instrumental in returning stability to the people of East Timor and created the stability and opportunity needed so that their nation can continue to grow.

 

“In the months ahead the ISF will be looking to consolidate recent achievements and continue to provide that guarantee for the people of East Timor so that they can build for their own future.”

 

Townsville soldier, Private Tim Carlton, said he and his mates leave East Timor with a sense of achievement and fond memories of the people they have assisted.

 

“I think the East Timorese people react very positively to the Australian Forces. We are here to help get their country back on their feet and I believe that is what we have done so they are very appreciative,” he said.

 

A large number of the returning service personnel are from the Townsville based 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment and they will be replaced by soldiers from the  8/9th Battalion from Brisbane.  ISF personnel are deployed to East Timor to assist the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations to maintain stability and security for the Timorese people.

 

Media note: Vision will be sent to networks at Parliament House at 11:30.

 

Still imagery is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/op/eastTimor/gallery/2010/20100208/index.htm

 

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

 
 

Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946
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