Subject: ABC: Aussie forces to stay in ETimor 'until 2008'

ABC News

Aussie forces to stay in ETimor 'until 2008'

By Indonesian correspondent, Geoff Thompson

Posted 2 hours 2 minutes ago Updated 1 hour 23 minutes ago

Australia's military commander in East Timor, Brigadier Mal Reardon, says he expects Australian forces will remain in the country until at least next February.

Brig Reardon says it is time that rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado stopped running and hiding in the hills and took advantage of an "incredible opportunity" to submit himself to justice.

The commander of the International Stabilisation Force in East Timor refused to be drawn on whether the hunt for Reinado was continuing, despite President Jose Ramos Horta calling off the the search for the young nation's most wanted man last month.

"The time for talking has ended. He must submit himself to justice," Brig Reardon said.

"We will continue to support the state, the Government, the leaders of Timor Leste [East Timor] in resolving this situation peacefully."

In other developments, counting after East Timor's parliamentary poll continues with a likely alliance including Xanana Gusmao's CNRT party and other parties showing a clear lead over the Fretilin party.

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