Subject: AP: Malaysia offers to help train East Timor's armed forces


Malaysia offers to help train East Timor's armed forces

12/10/2005 04:04:19 AM EST English General News

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia_The Malaysian government Saturday offered to train impoverished East Timor's military to tackle challenges such as maritime incursions by illegal fishermen.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and East Timor's visiting President Xanana Gusmao discussed troubles faced by the newly independent country's armed forces, which lack experience and are hampered by other logistical problems.

"We are prepared to take in some of their military personnel for training here," Najib was quoted as saying by the national news agency, Bernama. "If our soldiers can give them guidance, it will enable them to carry out their work properly, especially in terms of decision making."

Officials will travel to East Timor soon to see how Malaysia can help boost the confidence of Timorese troops in areas such as leadership skills and handling encroachment by foreign fishermen, Najib said on the margins of a defense exhibition on Malaysia's northern Langkawi island.

East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, remains Asia's poorest country. Its security personnel, including border police, have been undermanned and ill-equipped, enabling smuggling and other illegal activities to flourish.

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