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Australia pledges security support for East Timor

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Australia pledges security support for East Timor


Against a backdrop of renewed unrest in East Timor, Australia has agreed to continue to provide military support in the fledgling country. East Timor, Australia and Indonesia have held talks on increasing cooperation. They come after more violence in the capital Dili and the escape of some 50 prisoners from a jail there. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said: “We obviously continue to be concerned about the security situation, the outbreaks of violent incidents. The advice I have is that the situation is somewhat better than it has been so we are pleased about that.”

The former Portuguese colony was under Indonesian control for nearly three decades but finally won independence in 2002. East Timor’s government has accused the Australian-led international force of not providing enough security outside the prison in Dili. The inmates, including rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, walked out during visiting hours, apparently after threatening guards with grass cutters. Reinado was one of the figureheads of a revolt that plunged East Timor into chaos in May.

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