Subject: Pledge given on NZ troops in ET

also Community police to deploy to East Timor, President backs Clark's UN bid

Pledge given on East Timor troops

By HANK SCHOUTEN - The Dominion Post | Tuesday, 17 February 2009

New Zealand will retain a military and police presence in East Timor till the country is stable, Prime Minister John Key says.

Its president, Jose Ramos-Horta, met Mr Key yesterday to discuss New Zealand's efforts to maintain peace in the fledgling state.

East Timor has struggled to achieve stability since independence from Indonesia in 2002.

The army split along regional lines in 2006, leading to violence in which 37 people were killed and 150,000 fled their homes.

In February last year, he was seriously injured in an attack by rebel soldiers.

He showed no signs of his injuries yesterday as he crouched during the wero, or challenge, at the start of the official welcoming ceremony at Premier House and inspected the military honour guard.

Mr Key said he had committed to a military presence in East Timor for the foreseeable future.

Mr Ramos-Horta said he did not believe a reduction in troop numbers would be possible before 2010.

Mr Key said New Zealand would work with Australia and the East Timor Government to ensure there was no reduction till the country was stable.

Mr Ramos-Horta said he offered his "heartfelt" gratitude for what had already been a 10-year commitment to East Timor.

"Because it has been quite a few years of this huge burden that New Zealand has accepted ... sometimes we feel uncomfortable having to ask for additional years and commitment.

"By now we should be able to stand on our own, but that is not the case."

Earlier yesterday, the president attended a medal presentation ceremony for soldiers and police who had served in East Timor.

He said that a posthumous medal would be awarded to Private Leonard Manning, who was killed while on patrol in East Timor.

Private Manning was the first New Zealand soldier killed in combat since the Vietnam war.

- with NZPA


Community police to deploy to East Timor

Updated at 2:34pm on 17 February 2009

A contingent of community police officers from New Zealand is heading to East Timor.

Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta met the first group at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Wellington on Tuesday. Officers in the group will introduce a new style of policing to the country.

The 25 officers will leave in April to be part of a 2500-strong contingent of foreign troops and police helping to maintain stability in East Timor.

They will act as coaches and mentors to Timorese police, giving ideas and guidance on community policing.

Their training has included learning the local dialect. They will be armed with their normal weaponry, including baton, firearm and pepper spray.

The deployment will be for six months.


The New Zealand Herald

President backs Clark's UN bid

4:00AM Tuesday Feb 17, 2009

By Audrey Young

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark received a glowing testimonial yesterday for her job application to head the United Nations Development Programme.

It came from President Jose Ramos Horta, the head of Asia's poorest country, East Timor, a recipient of UNDP aid.

"If the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, decides to appoint Helen Clark as the UNDP administrator he would have made a very wise decision," Mr Ramos Horta said.

He said such an appointment would bring to the UN system "a formidable person in terms of her very long, rich background as Prime Minister of New Zealand". It would also add to the gender balance in the leadership of the UN system. Mr Ramos-Horta said the UNDP needed thorough reform to streamline its operations and to reduce the cost and Helen Clark was well placed to do that.

He also suggested that she had an advantage coming from New Zealand - "a small country without enemies, neutral, a friend of everybody".

"Her appointment would be very welcome by the countries that normally benefit from the UNDP programmes."

Helen Clark attended the small state lunch for Mr Ramos-Horta yesterday hosted by the Governor-General, Anand Satyanand. She also has a formal meeting with him planned for today.

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