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East Timor Operation Astute formally ends

Australian Associated Press - March 27, 2013

Operation Astute was launched in May 2006 in response to a request from the East Timor government following violence fanned by an army mutiny.

Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Ash Power said the last ADF personnel deployed on Astute returned to Australia on Wednesday, following the ceasing of operations in November last year.

Lt Gen Power praised the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force for its success in restoring public order to the fledgling nation. "The ADF is proud to have assisted the Timorese people in the quest for self determination and governance," he said in a statement.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the formal end to the operation marked a "significant milestone" for the ADF. "I extend my thanks to all ADF personnel who have served under Operation Astute for the contribution they have made in assisting Timor-Leste to establish a peaceful and independent nation," he said in a statement.

"In recent years, Timor-Leste has seen its economy grow and institutions strengthen. The 2012 national elections clearly demonstrated the ability of Timor-Leste security forces, both military and police, to manage domestic security."