Australia and Timor-Leste Step-Up Defence engagement

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP hosted his Timor-Leste counterpart, Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Filomeno da Paixao de Jesus, in Adelaide today for the first counterpart meeting between the two ministers.

Minister Pyne said the meeting was an opportunity to further strengthen the countries’ Defence partnership with a particular focus on maritime security issues.

“As close neighbours, we have a mutual interest in a secure region, and working together is the best way to achieve this,” Minister Pyne said.

Australia and Timor-Leste are collaborating as Timor-Leste prepares to receive two Australian-built Guardian-Class Patrol Boats for its military’s naval component, along with a comprehensive package of Australian support to operate these vessels.

“The Guardian-Class Patrol Boats will provide Timor-Leste with a robust maritime patrol capability well suited to its needs, but this is only one element of the broader maritime security architecture that Timor-Leste is developing,” Minister Pyne said.

“Minister Filomeno and the Timor-Leste Government have a great vision for an integrated Maritime Authority to oversee all aspects of Timor-Leste’s maritime security, and Australia will seek to support this vision in every way it can.

“I have offered Defence assistance to support Timor-Leste’s maritime domain awareness and we agreed to explore ways to strengthen our cooperation on maritime security matters,” Minister Pyne said.

The meeting between the two ministers comes as Timor-Leste prepares to celebrate twenty years since the Popular Consultation for Independence in August 1999.

“We look forward to commemorating this historic milestone for Timor-Leste, and recognising its remarkable success over the last twenty years,” Minister Pyne said.

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