Ten New Zealand Police For East Timor Ballot

  • Simon Upton
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Ten New Zealand Police officers will take part in a 280-strong United Nations civilian police deployment for East Timor's
autonomy ballot on 8 August.

The team will act as advisers to the Indonesian Police in providing a secure environment for the ballot, and supervising the
movement of the ballot boxes.

The team will comprise one Superintendent, two Inspectors and seven Sergeants.

Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Upton said the move reinforced New Zealand's long-standing policy of promoting a
political settlement in East Timor.

Mr Upton said that although the UN Secretary General had reported to the Security Council last week that the situation in
East Timor remains extremely volatile, it was expected the situation would improve as the UN presence builds. This is
already the case in the capital of Dili.

"The people of East Timor now have an opportunity to decide their own future," Mr Upton said. "The New Zealand Police
contribution is a practical commitment of support for the East Timorese in making that decision."

Police Minister Clem Simich said selection of candidates for the New Zealand contingent was already well advanced. The
team is expected to depart New Zealand on 12 June. They are scheduled to return to New Zealand on 14 August.

"Not only are we fulfilling our international obligations as a member of the United Nations, but this invitation also
recognizes the experience and professionalism of the New Zealand Police," said Mr Simich.

Other countries contributing civilian Police officers include Australia, Malaysia and the United States, as well as some
European Union countries. In all, the UN will have more than 2,000 civilian staff in East Timor to conduct the ballot.

"The role is not without its difficulties given the history of the province, but we are confident the UN and Indonesian
authorities will be doing everything they can to provide a safe and secure working environment," the Ministers concluded.