posted on Jun, 13 2005 @ 10:34 AM
The closure of the Moleana military base and evacuation of the last remaining troops marked the end of the Australian military's five-year
peacekeeping mission in the former Dutch Colony. East Timor's security will be left in the hands of its police force and fledgling military.
Australian land commander Major-General Ken Gillespie marked the end of Australia's mission when he handed control of the military base at Moleana,
near the border with Indonesian West Timor, to East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri on Monday.
Australia sent 5,000 troops to East Timor in 1999 at the head of a United-Nations-backed intervention force to quell violent revolts by pro-Indonesian
militias after the East Timorese voted for independence from Jakarta.
East Timor gained formal independence in 2002 and only about 100 Australian soldiers remained in the country by 2005 under an extended UN support
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The success in East Timor is a promising example that peacekeeping can eventually assist an occupied country to obtain stability, self-governance and
security. Although the two nation's circumstances are not similar enough to draw any strong comparisons, it does illustrate that there is hope yet
that the Iraqi occupation will end positively.
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[edit on 2005/6/13 by wecomeinpeace]