DILI, 16 october 2023 (TATOLI) – Australia and Timor-Leste’s defense relationship will continue to strengthen, said Minister of Defense, Donaciano do Rosário Gomes ‘Pedro Klamar Fuik in a meeting with the Australian Chargé d’Affaires to Timor-Leste, Caitlin Wilson, last week.
During the meeting, both parties exchanged views on how to further strengthen ties between the two countries in the Defense and Security sector.
Pedro Klamar Fuik said that the Australian government, through the Australia Defense Force (ADF), is committed to developing a capable and sustainable Timorese Defense Force.
He said that joint cooperation between the two countries is necessary to ensure security and order in maritime border areas, which is essential to control and protect Timor-Leste’s water.
Chargé d’Affaires Wilson expressed the Australian government’s commitment to supporting Timor-Leste in the area of the Defense and Security sector, saying that it was important to know the Ministry of Defense’s new program in order to align it with the existing program.
Australia’s defense and police engagement with Timor-Leste continues through the Australian Defense Cooperation Program (DCP) and the Timor-Leste Police Development Program.
The Australian Defense Cooperation Program (DCP) has been supporting Timor-Leste since 2001, as part of DCP’s broader regional activities in the Pacific region.
On 7 september, 2022, Australia and Timor-Leste signed a reciprocal Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA).
“The DCA will allow Australia and Timor-Leste to increase defense and security cooperation, especially in the maritime domain, given our shared border and adjacent maritime zones. Australia has undertaken to provide Timor-Leste with two Guardian class patrol boats in 2024 and to support their ongoing operations and maintenance,” said DFAT.
Australia was in the front line of support for Timor-Leste’s transition to independence and led the multinational International Force East Timor (INTERFET) which restored security in Timor-Leste following the 1999 post-independence ballot violence.
Australia also led the 2006-2013 International Stabilization Force (ISF), comprised of Australian and New Zealand Defence Force members. The ISF provided security back-up to the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and remained in Timor-Leste at the invitation of the Timorese Government.
Journalist: Camilio de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins