Subject: UN and Indon open first land crossing between E. and W. Timor

United Nations News Service May 1, 2000

UN and Indonesia open first land crossing between East and West Timor

The first land border crossing between East Timor and Indonesia opened today in Batugade, according to the United Nations mission in East Timor.

In a statement released today in Dili, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) said the crossing would be staffed by five international customs and immigration officers and nine Timorese personnel.

In other news, the East Timor Postal Service was inaugurated on Saturday in Dili, with the office's first letters sent to Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the President of Portugal.

"There is now international recognition that East Timor is a country on its way to independence with mail ready to be delivered to the country's residents," UNTAET head Sergio Vieira de Mello said at the inaugural ceremony. "Half a tonne of correspondence that had been in Australia since September is now being distributed to the Timorese. So you can imagine the importance of the opening of this public service."

On Sunday, another means of reaching East Timorese - this time via radio - was given a boost by the Japanese Government, which donated funds to acquire 8,500 radio receivers in the areas covered by radio Voz de Esperanca, radio Kmanek and radio UNTAET, namely in Lospalos and Maliana.

During a half-day visit to Dili, the Japanese delegation visited a primary school to which it donated $20,000 and announced it would provide $950,000 for each of the three upcoming years to assist East Timorese students who want to finish their studies in Indonesia, Singapore or Malaysia.

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