20 Sep 2009

10th anniversary of multi-national force in East Timor

10:34 am on 20 September 2009

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the arrival of an international peacekeeping force in East Timor.

In 1999, East Timor was rebuilding after the violence which followed an overwhelming vote for independence from Indonesia in a referendum sponsored by the United Nations.

On 20 September, the International Force for East Timor arrived in Dilli.

Australia and New Zealand contributed troops to INTERFET.

The ABC reports Australia was the lead nation and also supplied the commander, General Peter Cosgrove. New Zealand also contributed troops.

Twenty other nations were also involved - including the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Britain, the United States, and Canada.

The ABC reports a commemorative address is being held on Sunday at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to remember Australia's contribution.

Historian Steve Bullard says it was the largest peacekeeping mission that Australia ever embarked on.