The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

29 August 2007

Visit to East Timor

I will visit Dili, East Timor, on 30 August to meet key members of the new government and to attend celebrations to commemorate the anniversary of the historic 1999 ‘popular consultation’, in which the majority of East Timorese voted for independence.

During my visit I will hold discussions with President Ramos-Horta, Prime Minister Gusmao, other East Timorese leaders, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Atul Khare, and members of the Australian-led International Security Force (ISF). 

This will be the first visit to East Timor by an Australian minister since the swearing-in of the Gusmao Government.  I am looking forward to holding constructive discussions with members of the government, particularly on options for enhanced Australian engagement to build on our robust bilateral relationship.

Australia remains committed to supporting East Timor in its desire for a secure and prosperous future.  Australia currently deploys approximately 850 troops to the ISF, which supports UN Police (UNPOL) in maintaining security.  A further 50 Australian police officers are serving in East Timor with UNPOL.  Australia will provide an estimated $72.8 million in official development assistance to East Timor in 2007-08.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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