|Subject: JP: UN force commander offers
apology over spy incident
Also: JP: UN force commander offers apology over spy incident
Jakarta Post April 20, 2000
Indonesia deplores Australian spying
JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian government expressed concern and warned of cracks in the normalization of ties between Jakarta and Canberra on Wednesday following the discovery that an Australian citizen had sponsored spy activities in West Timor.
In the latest twist in the deteriorating relations since the East Timor saga in September, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry issued a statement "expressing serious concern" over the incident.
"The Indonesian government deeply deplores the recurrence of the espionage activities involving Australian nationals, which only serves to impede the normalization of bilateral relations between Australia and Indonesia."
Former Timorese militiamen Paul Tallo Alberto, 25, who was apprehended by East Nusa Tenggara police on April 6, admitted that he had been instructed by an Australian named Person to engage in espionage activities.
Person, believed to hold the rank of sergeant, is assigned to the peacekeeping force in East Timor.
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) Peacekeeping Force (PKF) Commander Lt. Gen. Jaime de los Santos publicly apologized for the spying incident after meeting with TNI chief Adm. Widodo AS on Monday.
De los Santos has pledged to expel the Australian from East Timor.
An Australian Defense spokesman was quoted by AFP as saying in Canberra that an inquiry would be conducted as a matter of urgency to determine the next step.
Despite Jakarta's fury over the incident, former INTERFET Commander Maj. Gen. Peter Cosgrove seemed to lightly brush off the incident saying that he was well-intentioned but misguided.
"Once all this is over he should return to what I'm sure is meritorious service," said Cosgrove who led the international force that came into East Timor in September.
There are about 1,600 Australian military personnel and 300 support staff in the UN peacekeeping operation in East Timor. (mds)
Jakarta Post April 18, 2000
UN force commander offers apology over spy incident
LAKTUTUS, East Nusa Tenggara (JP): United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) Peacekeeping Force (PKF) Commander Lt. Gen. Jaime de los Santos apologized Monday to Indonesian Military (TNI) over a recent spying incident involving an Australian member of the PKF.
"I apologize for the incident. Under the UN charter, intelligence activities are not allowed," de los Santos said in a media briefing.
He made the announcement shortly after a closed door meeting with TNI chief Adm. Widodo AS at the border post here, some 40 kilometers south of the regency capital of Atambua.
He also said that there had been improvements in border security.
"There have been no reports of border incidents in the past two weeks," said de los Santos, adding that cooperation with TNI was at its highest level.
Widodo meanwhile renewed his denial of accusations that TNI provided training for the so-called militias.
"I have repeatedly stated that there is no such training and Gen. De los Santos himself has met with the refugees and learned from them that there is no militia training by TNI," said Widodo.
He also said there would be more talks on the placement of Indonesian military observers in East Timor. UNTAET has placed its military observers on the Indonesian side of the border but so far there are no Indonesian military observers in East Timor.
"It is a technical issue and the Udayana chief will discuss the matter with PKF," said Widodo, referring to the military commander overseeing Bali and East Nusa Tenggara Maj. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri.
TNI has proposed that PKF and TNI exchange liaison officers, hold joint border patrols and maintain joint border posts to improve border security and to alleviate suspicions of TNI support for militia activities. The UN has turned down the proposal, but agreed to send liaison officers to Kupang and Atambua.
"We have problems on the border, not in Kupang or Atambua," Kiki argued.
Widodo repeated calls for TNI troops to maintain good cooperation with PKF based on understanding and mutual trust.
He also reminded the troops of the political implications of their actions.
The meeting in Laktutus was part of Widodo's itinerary in East Nusa Tenggara to visit troops in the Boilalu and Laktutus border posts. TNI has 40 posts along the 130-kilometer long border from Motaain to Metamau, divided into two sectors. The northern sector's 19 border posts are manned by the 432nd Kostrad Battalion, and the southern sector's 21 posts by the 502nd Kostrad Battalion.
The TNI chief arrived in Kupang on Sunday evening, accompanied by Air Force Chief Marshal Hanafie Asnan, Navy Chief Achmad Sutjipto, Deputy Army Chief Lt. Gen. Endriartono Sutarto and a number of high-ranking TNI officers.
"This visit is aimed at boosting the morale of the troops and to show that TNI is committed to providing border security, helping return the East Timorese refugees and maintaining law and order in refugee camps," he said. Widodo challenged the troops to show to the world that all the accusations against TNI were baseless.
"Despite all our efforts, we have been continually accused of training the so-called militias or allowing them to use the Indonesian side of the East-West Timor border as their base," said Widodo. "We must show to the world that there is no such training of the so-called militias."
He also ordered the troops to continue efforts to speed the return of East Timorese refugees, prevent illegal border crossings, smuggling, illegal possession of weapons and maintain law and order at refugee camps. (lem)
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