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Call for East Timorese troops to be trained in Australia

ABC News - March 6, 2009

Stephanie March – East Timor's state secretary for defence, Julio Tomas Pinto, wants to send more of his troops to Australia for training.

Australia's Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon was in Dili yesterday to officially open a new specialist training wing, which will be used to teach English and engineering to Timorese soldiers. The minister also met with the country's leaders to discuss Australia's military commitment.

Mr Pinto says he wants more Timorese soldiers to be trained in combat and peacekeeping at Australian military colleges. "We need assistance from the Australian side to professionalise our military, to hand over the stability for our country," he said.

It is understood East Timor currently sends two soldiers to Australia for training each year, but the Australian Defence Force is unable to confirm that number.