Subject: Talks to be held on assets in East Timor

Indonesian Observer November 2, 2000

Talks to be held on assets in East Timor

JAKARTA (IO) - Representatives of the government and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) will meet later this month to discuss Indonesian assets that were left behind last year in East Timor.

"The assets of individuals, state-owned companies and government in East Timor will come up as the main topic of discussion at the fourth meeting," AFP quoted Basyiruddin Yusuf, who heads the government's East Timorese refugees problem-solving task force, as saying.

The meeting will take place in Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatra. The two sides have already met three times: in Denpasar on Bali, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya in East Java.

Yusuf said the meeting was expected to produce a satisfactory solution for East Timorese who abandoned their homes and fled to West Timor following post-ballot violence in East Timor last year and have since opted to retain their Indonesian citizenship.

"The fourth meeting was planned in September and it had to be postponed to October. But it will likely be realized in November, following various preparations the Indonesian government had to make for the visit of UN envoys in October," he said.

Yusuf, who is also director for the national unity department of the Home Affairs and Regional Autonomy Ministry, was referring to a UN Security Council mission Jakarta has invited to visit West Timor following the slaughter of three UN relief workers there.

The murders by former pro-Indonesian East Timorese militia raised an international outcry and resulted in the hurried exodus of around 400 foreign aid personnel working with the some 130,000 East Timorese refugees remaining in West Timor.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for the immediate disarmament and disbanding of the East Timorese militia in West Timor.

The UN mission will review the situation in East Timor and Jakarta's progress in disarming anti-independence militias based in West Timor.

"All parties should understand that the issue [of assets] is still under discussion. Whether they [UNTAET] want to compensate for it or let the new government in East Timor handle it, or others, is something we have to discuss," Yusuf said.

"Most important, the people who have their assets there [East Timor] should not pin too much hope on possible compensation," he added.

Pro-Jakarta militias went into a frenzy of killings and destruction following the pro-independence results of the August 30 UN-held ballot in East Timor, forcing some 300,000 people into West Timor and more than 100,000 others into hiding in the forests of East Timor.

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