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30 May 2008
60-year celebration of United Nations peace keeping

Hundreds of UN soldiers and police paraded through the streets of Dili on 29 May to celebrate 60 years of international peace-keeping operations. They marched from the UN Headquarters of the UN to a venue one km away where school children sang, musicians performed, and poets read messages of peace.

The Australian Commander of the International Stabilisation Force, Brigadier James Baker, joined the official guests including the President and Prime Minister for the celebrations. The names of 73 peacekeepers that have died helping to bring peace to Timor-Leste were read out.

Operation ASTUTE is the Australian Government's response to a request from the Government of Timor-Leste to assist in restoring peace to their country.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has deployed to Timor-Leste with a mission to assist the Government and the United Nations to bring stability, security and confidence to the Timorese to allow them to resolve their differences democratically and peacefully.

There are approximately 1000 ADF personnel currently serving in Timor-Leste. This force will remain in Timor-Leste continuing to provide a robust response capability to support the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations Police force.

Police from Australia and 24 other nations throughout the world provide security in Dili. The ADF provides support to these police operations as required.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is working alongside the ADF to assist with this mission.