Subject: Indon urges UNTAET to form E. Timor joint border committee

Jakarta Post September 02, 2000

Indonesia urges UNTAET to form E. Timor joint border committee

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia is urging the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) to sign an agreement on the formation of a joint border committee as part of measures to ease disruptive activities along the East Timor border.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that with a joint committee the two sides could conduct surveillance on all kinds of incidents in the border area.

"The presence of a joint committee, can ensure that fair measures will be taken against Indonesia as it has been too often that we have been blamed for supporting all kinds of incidents happening on the border," Susilo said after a meeting with UNTAET chief Sergio Vieiera de Mello on Friday.

"It has become very unfair if every time we have to take the blame...The committee will have the authority to make investigations and conduct surveillance each time an incident occurs," Susilo added.

The Joint Border Committee will be authorized to set rules on movements along the border between East Timor and West Timor including on security conditions and administration procedures for those who want to cross the border.

The Committee can also be authorized to determine the demarcation line between the two areas.

Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Director General for Political Affairs Hassan Wirajuda said Indonesia has become very forthcoming in solving the border issue and even delivered the draft to UNTAET.

"However, UNTAET refused to sign the draft on the grounds that they have to discuss it among themselves on Sept. 7 and maybe after Sept. 10 they will be ready to have further talks about it," Hassan told journalists.

Susilo said after Friday's meeting, UNTAET has agreed to sign the draft, but did not mention the exact time of the signing.

However according to Susilo, during the meeting de Mello again alleged that intensified activities on the border in the past month was supported, trained and involved the Indonesian Military (TNI).

"But, from the facts we have on the field according to the Udayana Regional Commander Maj. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri, the allegations are baseless. There is no military training for the militias," Susilo said.

"There is no TNI backing for militias, but it is a very long border so it is possible that one or two militias are able to infiltrate to the other side," Susilo added.(dja)

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