CANBERRA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer
said on Wednesday that Australia expected a letter of request for help from East
Timor will come very soon while 1,000 to 1,300 Australian troops was available
for deployment in its northern neighbor.
East Timor's leaders have decided to ask for outside assistance to stop
continuing fighting between government troops and rebel soldiers in the capital
"We haven't got (the letter) here yet but we have some expectation ... that
it will arrive pretty soon," Downer told Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australia could deploy troops within 48 hours following the arrival of the
formal request, according to Downer.
Meanwhile, East Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta told ABC television
Wednesday that he hopes Australian troops can offer assistance.
He said the request for help has also been sent to New Zealand, Malaysia and
"We do not anticipate that either the police or the defense force would have to engage in any hostile activities, because we believe the moment the news of the deployment of these forces is made public and the moment the Australian forces land in Timor, this will have an immediate calming effect throughout the country," he said. Enditem