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Queen Presents Medal to Australian

March 25, 2000

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) _ Queen Elizabeth II presented a medal Saturday to the Australian leader of the international force that restored peace to East Timor last year.

Halfway through a two-week visit, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, were relaxing in the Australian capital this weekend after a hectic week that took them to Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere.

In a brief ceremony at Canberra’s Government House, the queen presented medals to Maj. Gen. Peter Cosgrove and five other Australians who helped bring peace back to East Timor after violence erupted in the province following its Aug. 30 referendum vote for independence from Indonesia.

Cosgrove was appointed a Companion in the Military Division of the Order of Australia, one of the nation’s highest military honors, for eminent service to the Australian Defense Force and for commanding the International Force in East Timor.

The queen told General Cosgrove that his efforts were appreciated.

``She was very interested in what Australia had done in East Timor, well informed about it, and she like many other people was relieved that we were able to do the job at such a low human cost,″ Cosgrove said after the ceremony.

The queen and Prince Philip had no other engagements scheduled for Saturday and were planning Sunday to visit a church in Canberra.

The royal couple were scheduled next week to visit the southern island state of Tasmania, Alice Springs in Australia’s dusty red central area and towns in Western Australia.

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