6 March 2017
The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, left today to visit Timor-Leste and an exercise off Australia involving Royal New Zealand Navy vessels.
He arrives in Timor-Leste tonight for a series of meetings before departing for Perth, where he will view Exercise Ocean Explorer, an Australian-led maritime exercise involving New Zealand ships.
Lieutenant General Keating’s engagements in Timor-Leste will include a counterpart meeting with the Commander of the Timor-Leste Defence Force, Major General Lere Anan Timur, and calls on Prime Minister Dr Rui Maria de Araujo and President Taur Matan Ruak.
“This is a good opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest and reaffirm New Zealand’s commitment to Timor-Leste’s security and prosperity,” Lieutenant General Keating said.
“New Zealand has a long history of defence co-operation with Timor-Leste, and a considerable number of current and former NZDF personnel were deployed to the country in various rotations to help ensure stability after the independence referendum from Indonesia in 1999.
“The NZDF continues to maintain a small presence in Timor-Leste, with two personnel currently deployed as part of the Mutual Assistance Programme, providing logistics training and strategic advice to the Timor-Leste Defence Force.”
After his visit to Timor-Leste, Lieutenant General Keating will fly to Perth to observe Exercise Ocean Explorer, which involves the RNZN frigates HMNZS Te Kaha and Te Mana and the tanker HMNZS Endeavour.