Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, 11 September 2018
The President of the Republic Francisco Guterres Lú Olo applauded the cooperation between Australian and Timorese veterans as a means to strengthen the relations between both countries.
In his message to the veterans of Australian, the President of the Republic highlighted the positive results achieved by the Timor Awakening programme which benefits both Australian and Timorese veterans, and pointed out that this programme requires everyone’s support, in particular the Government of Timor-Leste. The programme will contribute to the promotion of historical sites so as to ensure that the story of liberation “is accurately told by the survivors themselves”.
One of the members of the delegation of Australian veterans currently visiting Timor-Leste is WWII veteran Alexander Ian Hampel. The President of the Republic was very pleased with the visit of Hampel as the last living survivor of the Australian vessel that was attacked and sunk by the Japanese forces in September 1942 in Betano.
‘It is a great pleasure to welcome the Veterans of Australia. Your presence brings back memories of my father and of those who have not hesitated to support the Australian forces in our country, during WWII, aiming at restoring peace worldwide,’ the President of the Republic said in his message.
‘Through the unconditional support of our compatriots, we have learned that human solidarity does not hold boundaries and that friendship between peoples is strengthened during hard times. The presence of the Australian forces in our country during WWII was short. However short, the friendship shaped, became a long-lasting one,’ he added.
The Head of State also highlighted the “consistent and persistent support” of many WWII veterans and their families,
‘With small but effective actions over the years in association with the Timorese community and the friends we made along the way, we were successful in mobilizing the Australian public opinion in siding with our cause. Indeed, the fact that thousands of peoples joined demonstrations in September 1999 and the deployment of INTERFET resulted from the powerful friendship and solidarity built specially since WWII,’ he highlighted.