East Timor Independence

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Of these parties, KOTA and the Labour party were further mentioned and precisely by the Indonesian authorities with the sole purpose to evoke that four of the five parties, which they alleged that was the majority of the East-timorese, had petitioned for integration during the Civil War

On 15 September the United Nations Security Council unanimously authorised the establishment of a multinational force in Timor (UNSCR 1264). The resolution gives the force three tasks for its mandate: first, to restore peace and security to East Timor; second to protect and support the United Nations Mission in East Timor and; third, to facilitate within force capabilities humanitarian assistance operations in East Timor. The multinational force is commanded by Australias Major General Peter Cosgrove

Australian support

The multinational force has been authorised by the United Nations Security Council, under chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, to use all necessary measures to achieve its mandate. The multinational force would prepare the ground for the United Nations to complete its task of managing East Timor's transition to independence. This will involve the arrival as soon as possible of a fully-fledged blue helmet UN peacekeeping operation and the establishment of a UN transitional administration.

Australian support for peacekeeping operations is not something new Bougainville is but one ongoing example. But the East Timor operation multilateral in scope, strongly representing South East Asia, led by Australia and conducted under a United Nations Chapter VII or peace enforcement mandate is of a very different nature. This is the first time that Australia has been asked by the United Nations to build and lead a multinational force and to provide the largest single component. When Australias deployment was at full strength, it had committed 4,500 troops.

Australian involvement in the East Timor crisis is not motivated by any desire to cause difficulties in relations between Australia and Indonesia. It is important that Australia is in East Timor at the request of the United Nations and with the agreement of the Indonesian Government. It was in Australias vital interests that Indonesia be a peaceful, stable and democratic state, economically prosperous and playing a leading and respected role in the region. It was also in Indonesias own interests to ensure East Timors transition is a peaceful and orderly one. Australias efforts in building the relations with Indonesia were directed to that outcome.

With respect to defence relations, it is in australian security interests to have links such as defence attache representation, high-level strategic talks, staff college courses, maritime surveillance and disaster relief exercises. Such contacts are necessary to achieve the objectives in East Timor, and are desirable because defence links will be part of any effective long-term relationship with Indonesia. That decision shows the challenges Jakarta and Canberra face in maintaining a working defence relationship that supports the long-term national and strategic interests of both countries.

Prime Minister Howard has said that the deployment of Australian troops to East Timor meets the test of national interest in two respects. First, in the spirit of Australia's military tradition, troops are going to defend what Australian society believes to be right. The troops are not going to occupy territory, to impose the will of Australia on others or to act against the legitimate interests of another country. Rather, they go to East Timor at the request of the United Nations and with the agreement of the Indonesian government. INTERFET troops are defending East Timors desire for independence, as delivered in a free vote granted to them by the Indonesian Government and with the blessing of the international community. In addition, INTERFET troops will facilitate the humanitarian relief that is so desperately needed for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people in East Timor.

: 4/09/2009