Subject: NZ Troops to stay in East Timor 'as long as necessary'
also Mapp farewells troops to Timor
Troops to stay in East Timor 'as long as necessary'
7:30PM Thursday Nov 20, 2008
New Zealand's peacekeeping troops will stay in East Timor for as long as necessary, new Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said today.
Mr Mapp was at Ohakea air base to see off the latest contingent of troops on their six-month tour of duty.
"We have to do what's required. We did pull out some years ago and we saw things deteriorate," Dr Mapp said on TV One News.
"We cannot let that happen again."
New Zealand has about 180 defence force personnel and 25 police in East Timor as part of an international peacekeeping force, and there has been a New Zealand presence in the country since it gained its independence from Indonesia in 1999.
East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao visited Wellington in August and thanked the then prime minister, Helen Clark, for New Zealand assistance.
Mapp farewells troops to Timor
New Zealand peacekeeping troops will stay in Timor Leste for as long as necessary, the new defence minister says.
Wayne Mapp made the announcement at Ohakea Air Base on Thursday morning as the latest troop contingent left on a six month tour of duty in the fledgling nation.
Mapp says New Zealand's military-related work in Timor Leste and the South Pacific is one of the most important things the country is involved in.
Mapp and Associate Defence Minister Heather Roy joined families and well-wishers at Ohakea to farewell 149 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel bound for Timor Leste.
Nearly 30 of the deployed soldiers are Territorial Force (TF).
Mapp said he was delighted their first official act as Minister and Associate Minister was to meet some of the Kiwi service personnel heading off to advance the cause of peace and security.
"I believe the high standards and levels of integrity that our Defence Force men and women conduct themselves with are a credit to all New Zealanders," the ex-Territorial Force Officer said.
The sixth rotation of Kiwi troops to serve in Timor-Leste since May 2006 is drawn mainly from the Linton-based 2nd Land Force Group, and their regular tasks in theatre will include carrying out patrols, liaising with locals and providing assistance to United Nations police.
Source: ONE News