Subject: JP: Jakarta and UNTAET set up joint committee

Jakarta Post July 6, 2000

Jakarta and UNTAET set up joint committee; Jakarta won't pay pensions

SURABAYA (JP): The Indonesian government is remaining steadfast in its refusal to pay former civil servants of East Timorese origin who have chosen to relinquish their citizenship.

The impasse remained unresolved at the end of the third round of meetings between the government and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) here on Wednesday.

Jakarta's representative Sudjanan Parnohadiningrat said the government had been asked to pay the pension of some 7,000 East Timorese who once were civil servants before the Aug. 30 referendum and then opted to relinquish their Indonesian citizenship.

Sudjanan, who is also director for international organizations at the ministry of foreign affairs, explained that under the 1969 law on civil servants, only Indonesian citizens are entitled to receive a pension.

The system is different than applied in other countries in which the pension is considered part of the accumulative percentage of wages which had been saved through the years.

Sudjanan said the two sides agreed to set up a technical working group to further discuss the matter.

However, progress was achieved on the establishment of a joint border committee to demarcate border lines and bridge differences between East and West Timor.

Sudjanan added that Jakarta was also asked to give scholarships for some 800 East Timorese students.

He said, however, that it had been decided Jakarta could only offer scholarships to 162 East Timorese students.

During a visit to Jakarta in May, UNTAET chief Sergio de Mello said that having East Timorese students back in Jakarta was "the best investment that we can jointly make on the future relations between the two countries".

He also said that to support healthy trade relations, the two countries first needed to agree on many things, including technicalities, customs and immigration. (Sirikit Syah)

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