Subject: Indon Asks Int'l Community to Solve E.Timor Refugee Problem

also: Refugees in West Timor approach governor over allowances

Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2000

Indonesia Asks Int'l Community to Solve E.Timor Refugee Problem


The Indonesian government has asked the international community to solve the problem of tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees now still staying in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (West Timor), Antara news agency reported Wednesday.

"We are calling on the international community to pay full attention to the problem because it is a collective responsibility of the international community," Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said before leaving for New York on Tuesday for a meeting with U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Richard Holbrooke.

Alwi said that besides discussing aid for the East Timorese refugees with Holbrooke, he would also inform him about what Indonesia had done to overcome the problem.

The Indonesian government had made a proposal containing details about relocation and employment plans which the international community had orally agreed to, Alwi was quoted by Antara as saying.

The mass exodus of East Timorese to East Nusa Tenggara occurred due to the violence that followed the overwhelming vote for independence from Indonesia during a U.N.-sponsored ballot in East Timor on August 30 last year.

While more than 100,000 East Timorese have been repatriated in recent months, hundreds of thousands of others remain in refugee camps in the western half of the Timor island because they have no home or job to return to.

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts April 04, 2000, Tuesday Source: 'Kompas', Jakarta, in Indonesian 3 Apr 00 [excerpts]

Refugees in West Timor approach governor over allowances

Kupang: Dozens of East Timorese refugees, claiming to be a delegation from a number of East Timorese refugee camps situated in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), arrived at the governor's office in Kupang on Saturday (1st April). They went to his office to inquire about rice and living allowances, which are now 30 days overdue.

The representatives claim to come from camps in Tuapukan, Noelbaki and GOR (city of Kupang), Sulamu (district of Kupang), North Central Timor and the district of Belu which borders with East Timor.

"We heard the Indonesian government will no longer help the refugees from this day forward. Admittedly we can not force the government to continue their support, but we just ask that the allowances still owing to us not be cancelled. We hope that those allowances can still be distributed to us," said Joao Soares, a delegate from Tuapukan, 25 km east of Kupang...

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