Subject: Border crossing easier

Newspaper key: NTT X ­ NTT Ekspres; PK ­ Pos Kupang;

Monday, 27 Nov. 2000

PK ­ "TNI supports refugees who celebrate Christmas in E. Timor" KUPANG ­ TNI is very supportive of E. Timor refugees who celebrate Christmas and Idul Fitri in E. Timor with their families and will provide them a guarantee of security. Head of Kupang command post 161 Wirasakti, Col. Budi Heriyanto, told Pos Kupang, "The idea to celebrate Christmas in E. Timor came from the refugees themselves. They put the matter to me and I discussed it in a meeting with the PMP Task Force and Untaet." He said the head of Untaet staff, Prameswara, immediately responded positively and 90% of the activities were agreed to. "It is hoped this activity will speed up reconciliation efforts among E. Timorese and thereby speed up an end to the E. Timor refugee problem in W. Timor." The PMP Task Force and Untaet will facilitate E. Timor refugees who wish to celebrate Christmas and Idul Fitri in E. Timor. Head of the PMP Task Force, Basyiruddin Yusuf, said that in a meeting with Untaet on Wed. (22/11), Untaet is ready to guarantee security for refugees returning to their villages and then back to the border after the holidays. However, they will be given the freedom to remain in E. Timor if they wish. He said the Task Force is simply facilitating transport to the border and from there refugees will be handled by Untaet. "We have approached the Belu regency government and they have prepared about 300 trucks and refugees may take with them whatever they wish as gifts."

NTT X ­ "Members increasingly free to go to Timor Lorosae" ATAMBUA ­ E. Timorese who have been staying in W. Timor feel increasingly free to go to Timor Lorosae and return without facing significant obstacles in either region. Johana Soares Pinto said this on Fri. (24/11) in relation to increasing numbers of E. Timorese going and coming to and from Timor Lorosae via the main posts in Mota Ain (Belu) and Batugede (Timor Lorosae) since the UN Sec. Council's visit to Atambua on 15 Nov. She said that when she arrived at the Mota Ain post the police and TNI on duty there gave good and sympathetic service. They examined all her papers for crossing into Timor Leste and that UNPKF at the security post on the other side did the same thing, and then gave her permission to continue to Dili with public transport that was waiting at the Batugede post. It is not just refugees but lots of other Indonesians and international tourists have begun entering freely into E. Timor. Mobility of people across the border is increasing every day. This means the regency govt. should pick up the ball in implementing a development program for the border area with E. Timor which can touch the real needs of the people there.

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