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Saturday, 25 March, 2000, 10:46 GMT
Queen honours East Timor heroes
queen and peter cosgrove
The Queen honours Major General Peter Cosgrove
Australian peacekeepers who helped stabilise war-ravaged East Timor have been honoured by the Queen.

Major General Peter Cosgrove was commander of the international force which was sent to East Timor to help ease tension after the East Timorese people voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia.

He was invested as a Companion of the Order of Australia at a ceremony in Government House in Canberra, during the Queen's tour of Australia.


John Howard
John Howard: Praised East Timor efforts
Five others also received awards, under the Australian honours system, for their part in the operation.

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Day received the Distinguished Service Cross.

Police chief Alan Mills, who served as Commissioner of the Civilian Police Contingent of the United Nations Assistance Mission in East Timor, was invested as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

Sergeant Steven Oddy received the Medal for Gallantry.

Navy diver Able Seaman Justin Brown received a Commendation for Gallantry.

And Staff Sergeant Kim Felmingham received the Nursing Service Cross.

Hope and peace

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard praised Major General Cosgrove.

He said: "His leadership contributed significantly to the success of the multinational mission and provided the people of East Timor with hope and a peaceful new beginning."

More than 9,000 men and women from the Australian forces served with the International Force East Timor and a total of 78 have been recognised with distinguished service and gallantry awards for their exceptional conduct in East Timor.

The Australian-led international peacekeeping force, Interfet, left East Timor in February after five months duty.

Major General Cosgrove said only luck and discipline had averted the outbreak of fighting with Indonesian troops.

Interfet was replaced by a 23-nation peacekeeping operation of about 9,000 troops - 80% of whom will have transferred from Interfet - which has become one of the United Nations' biggest and most expensive military operations.

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See also:

23 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Interfet lowers flag in Dili
23 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Interfet leaves East Timor
03 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Timor militias 'will be disarmed'
27 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Requiem for Timor 'martyrs'
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