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DILI, Timor-Leste - Senior mission leadership, host nation and partner nation participants attended the closing ceremony of the fifth Pacific Partnership 2019 (PP19) mission stop in Dili, May 3.
“This was the seventh time that Timor-Leste hosted Pacific Partnership,” said U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick. “While tonight marks the end of this particular exercise, it is by no means the end of the longstanding and mutually beneficial partnership between Timor-Leste and the United States of America.”
During the two-week mission stop in Timor-Leste, participants from PP19, including the Timor-Leste Defense Force, military personnel from PP19 partner nations, and civilians from local government agencies collaborated to launch two engineering projects and complete a third one, participate in eight host nation outreach engagements, nine performances by the Pacific Fleet Band, 20 medical, dental and veterinary side-by-side subject matter exchanges, and five humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exchanges that culminated in an extensive tabletop training exercise, simulating local response to a disaster.
“It’s an exciting experience for our people to witness the great cooperation between military and civilians with different nationalities and cultures in unity of action,” said Timor-Leste Minister of Foreign Affairs Dionisio Babo Soares. “Providing humanitarian, medical and engineering support, as well as social and sport programs has touched our lives to further friendship and connection between people in the region.”
Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of South and Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.
Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership collaborates with partner nations including Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom to strengthen disaster response preparedness around the Indo-Pacific region.
“As this mission comes to a close, the lines of communication remain open and strengthened by every bond and relationship created here,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, Task Force 73 commander. “We look to continue this great work together and strengthening our relationship with Timor-Leste into the future.”
Timor-Leste is one of several host nations for Pacific Partnership 2019. The Pacific Partnership mission teams have also made stops in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Philippines, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Malaysia, and are scheduled to make stops in Vietnam and Thailand. Experts in the fields of engineering, medicine and disaster response partner with each host nation to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and disaster response exercises.
Pacific Partnership’s mission is to work collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific region. Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific region.
See more Pacific Partnership images and news on the mission's DVIDS feature page.