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Overseas Operations - UNAMET, INTERFET, UNTAET & UNMISET

United Nations Mission in East Timor, Intervention Force in East Timor, United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor & United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor

Following a coup in Portugal, which put a socialist regime into place, the new government began to withdraw from remaining Portuguese colonies. One of these was East Timor, which occupied half of a 265km long island off the Indonesian archipelago, 450km northwest of Australia. However, instead of independence Indonesia, who were in control of West Timor, laid claim to East Timor. The UN would not recognise Indonesia's claims and years of talks led to an Indonesian proposal in 1998 for limited autonomy for East Timor within Indonesia. The UN was asked to organise and conduct a referendum of the East Timorese. The UNAMET mission was established in June to monitor and implement the people's decision.

In the referendum, held in August, the East Timorese overwhelmingly rejected autonomy within Indonesia, sparking mass killing and destruction by pro-Indonesian militias.

In September 1999 the UN Security Council established INTERFET and in October a platoon of ARW personnel and support elements joined the mission.

INTERFET was soon replaced by UNTAET (which itself was later replaced by UNMISET), with the ARW still supplying the main Irish commitment of an infantry platoon operating with the New Zealand battalion.

In June 2000 the ARW platoon was replaced by a platoon from 2 Infantry Battalion and this policy of providing a complete platoon from one of the Defence Forces battalions continued until the end of Ireland's contribution to the mission which ended in May 2004.

Operation Details
Duration July 1999 – May 2004
Operation type UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer & troops)
Commitment 318 cumulative missions

Current Operations