East Timor to hold first joint military exercise with US

Posted : Thu, 01 Oct 2009 09:59:08 GMT
By : dpa

Dili – East Timor is scheduled to conduct its first joint exercise with the US military this month to bolster the skills of the country’s armed forces, US officials said Thursday.

Members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the US Navy are due to be in East Timor from October 13 to 23 to hold joint military exercises with the Falintil-FDTL (Force de Defesa de Timor Leste), said Hans Klem, the US ambassador to East Timor.

“The primary focus is to work with FDTL to learn from them in their skills and to share our skills,” Klem said.

The exercises will include humanitarian assistance activities and field exercises to enhance cooperation and partnerships between the US and Australia, whose troops will also participate.

There will be jungle, urban and infantry training, beach landings and engineering and medical projects, US military captain Brannan Simi said at the US embassy in Dili on Thursday.

“In partnership with the East Timor force and the international stabilization force, the US Marines and sailors will also be conducting limited training ashore,” said Simi.

East Timor, one of the world’s newest countries, has a small force of 1,300 personnel that the government hopes to boost to 2,000 by the year 2012.

Illegal fishing is currently the country’s main external security issue.

Copyright DPA

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