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East Timor to honour Aust peacekeepers

Australian Associated Press - May 31, 2017

Lisa Martin – Australian peacekeepers led an international force that helped curtail the carnage and bloodshed in the aftermath of East Timor's vote for independence.

Pro-Indonesian militias, with some backing from elements of the Indonesian military, went on a violent looting and arson rampage. An estimated 1500 East Timorese were killed and about 500,000 displaced.

Almost 18 years later, the developing country has joined Australia in honouring the role of peacekeepers in its birth as a nation.

East Timor has donated $US100,000 ($A134,570) towards a memorial recognising Australia's involvement in international peacekeeping operations since 1947.

East Timor Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo said the memorial would stand as a testimony of the close bonds that existed between the two nations.

"This memorial will forever speak to the pivotal role of peacekeepers in protecting the most vulnerable and in supporting countries like ours to transition from occupation and conflict to security, stability and peace," he said.

Since 2001, East Timor has halved child mortality, doubled its number of teachers, virtually eliminated malaria, built a sovereign wealth fund and started constructing essential infrastructure.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/east-timor-to-honour-aust-peacekeepers/news-story/4dfaa94c416e59b80d8721d5075fbbc8