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East Timor

Defense

The defense in this new nation comprises (2009) 1,300 men. In 1999, the international INTERFET force of 11,300 men was replaced in East Timor's defense by a UN force, UNTAET, of about 8,000 men from 32 countries. The mission was to be responsible for a transition to a free nation. During the process, the incoming government had access to an armed force of about 1,500 men. This force was mainly converted in 2002 to a regular national defense with a reserve force of another 1,500 men, organized in 2004.

Military of East Timor

The UN mandate is extended to February 2010 and includes an operational part (ISF) of about 1,000 men from Australia, Malaysia and Portugal and observers (UNMIT) from 14 countries. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that RTL stands for East Timor.

East Timor's foreign policy

Internationally, it has been a priority task to improve relations with Indonesia, the new state's dominant trading partner. East Timor's leaders have let it shine through that they do not want a court settlement following the 1999 violence to complicate relations with Indonesia. The relationship was further strengthened after the countries entered into cooperation agreements in a wide range of areas in 2008 and agreed on virtually all unresolved issues regarding border demarcation at sea and on land. Indonesia supports East Timor's application for membership in the regional cooperation organization ASEAN from 2012.

In 2008, the final report from the joint Timorese-Indonesian Truth and Friendship Commission was handed over to Presidents Ramos-Horta and Yudhoyono. It is substantially opposed to the official Indonesian version of the incident during and after the 1999 independence referendum. The abuses were not spontaneous, but organized and deliberately aimed at terrorizing the population, the commission's conclusion reads.

The relationship with Australia was long characterized by Australia's early recognition of Indonesia's supremacy over East Timor after the invasion of 1975. This improved after an agreement on sharing of petroleum resources in the sea was signed in 2001. A new agreement from January 2006 secures East Timor 90% of the royalty revenue from the Greater Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea. The 2006 agreement postpones the final marking of the border line between the two Timorese countries for 50 years.

Australia has played a key role in security policy since independence in 2002, including the deployment of peacekeeping forces in East Timor.

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