Subject: AFP: East Timor's soldiers get uniforms at last

Agence France Presse

June 26, 2007

East Timor's soldiers get uniforms at last

DILI, June 26 2007

East Timor's soldiers finally got their own uniforms on Tuesday -- five years after the country gained independence.

The army had been using kit sent from Portugal, China and Mozambique, but at a ceremony at the presidential palace 720 new sets of the specially-designed uniforms were handled over to troops.

The clothes are brown, yellow, black and dark green to reflect the landscape of the tiny nation of East Timor, which was occupied by Indonesia for 24 years until 1999. It gained full independence in May 2002 after more than two years of UN stewardship.

President Jose Ramos-Horta told troops that the uniform presentation was "an example of the steps forward being taken in building this country."

East Timor's army was left in disarray last year after some 600 soldiers -- just under a third of all their members -- deserted amid claims of ethnic discrimination.


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