|Subject: Australia To Supply M16 Rifles To
East Timor Force
Associated Press February 2, 2001
Australia To Supply M16 Rifles To East Timor Force
CANBERRA (AP)--Australia said it will supply the fledgling East Timor defense force with 360 M16 assault rifles, but has ruled out giving heavier armaments, the Defense Department said Friday.
A department spokesman denied reports that Australia would supply grenades, machine guns and other heavy weapons.
"We will not be supplying machine guns or hand grenades or anything heavier than the rifles," said spokesman Brian Hickey. "The rifles will remain under Australian army control and in a secure armory," he said.
Australia and Portugal, which once ruled East Timor, are providing training to East Timor's 600-strong defense force.
In November, the Australian government pledged 26 million Australian dollars over five years toward the Office of Defense Force Development for East Timor.
East Timor has been under the administration of the United Nations since it voted to break ties with Indonesia in 1999.
This week the U.N. Security Council voted to extend the U.N. mission for one year until Jan. 31, 2002.
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