Commemorating Anzac Day for Timor-Leste’s International Defence Partners

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Today, April 25 2018, marks the 103rd anniversary of Anzac Day. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of 25 April, 1915, when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Gallipoli, as part of the Gallipoli Campaign against Germany’s World War 1 ally, the Ottoman Empire. It is a day of national remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all the Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and the contributions and suffering of all those who have served.

Fundasaun Mahein (FM) would like to take this opportunity to remember and to thank the Australian servicemen of Sparrow Force, composed of the 2/40th Battalion and the 2nd/2nd Independent Company, and Lancer Force composed of the 2nd/4th Independent Company, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army during World War 2, in what was then Portuguese Timor. FM also remembers the sacrifices of the Timorese people who supported the Australian Army’s guerrilla warfare campaign between February 1942 and January 1943, who made great sacrifices supporting the Australians, suffering casualties of more than 40 000 people.

Turning to more recent history, FM would like to recognise the service and sacrifice of Australian and New Zealand servicemen and servicewomen, who lead the 1999 International Force East Timor (INTERFET) mission which restored peace and security to Timor-Leste following the breakdown in security that came after the Referendum for Independence, served during the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) between 1999 and 2002, as well as leading the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) that was deployed in Timor-Leste between 2006 and 2013 following the 2006 Timor-Leste Crisis. FM would also like to acknowledge the ongoing contributions of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force to the capacity development of the FALINITIL-Defence Force of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) following the withdrawal of United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in May 2013.

Our shared history shows that despite some political differences, there is a strong history of defence cooperation between Timor-Leste, Australia and New Zealand, and FM not only appreciates the sacrifices made by members of the ADF and NZDF in providing for peace and security in Timor-Leste, but appreciates the ongoing support they have provided for the F-FDTL as it matures into a conventional defence force for the sovereign defence of Timor-Leste. We welcome their ongoing support for F-FDTL development towards the evolution of the F-FDTL into an institution capable of protecting and ensuring Timor-Leste’s sovereignty, and providing contributions to international peace support operations as a good global citizen, much as our allies have done during times of crisis in Timor-Leste.
Lest we forget!

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