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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, June 6) — Palau is ready to deploy more of its officer to East Timor or Solomon Islands to assist Australia in its peace building efforts in the two troubled Pacific nations.

President Tommy Remengesau said in his discussions with the Australian officials during the Palm Summit in Okinawa, Japan, he vowed to support Australia in its efforts to secure the Pacific region.

Australia has been providing a big bulk of the more than 2,000 international security forces trying in East Timor.

Last month, Palau police officers Dolyn Tell and Jonnie Ngeluk returned from a nine-month stint as peacekeepers in East Timor.

In Solomon Islands, officers Byrson Ngiratumerang and Alvin Ingerekleii are part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.

After undergoing training in Australia, the two were deployed to Solomon Islands.

Last week, street fights broke out in several parts of Dili, the capital of East Timor.

Roaming bands of youths fired slingshots, threw rocks and hacked rivals with machetes.

Australian forces spent several tense hours on the main airport road trying unsuccessfully to keep the warring parties apart.

Some patrols rolled past scenes of violence and arson without intervening.

Australian army medics treated a man who suffered head and back wounds after being attacked with a machete.

At least eight people were hospitalized with machete wounds, and three of them were in critical condition, a hospital official said.

According to news reports, the violence is the worst in East Timor since its bloody break from Indonesia in 1999, which paved the way for full independence in 2002 after years of U.N. administration.

It remains one of the world’s poorest countries and is dependent on foreign aid.

The fighting was triggered by the dismissal in March of 600 soldiers from the 1,400-member army.

Sporadic clashes last week between the disgruntled soldiers and government troops spiraled into open street violence in Dili, and at least 27 people have died.

June 7, 2006

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