Subject: AN: Solution To Refugee Problem Depends On E Timorese - Task Force Chairman

ANTARA - THE INDONESIAN NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY February 1, 2001

INDONESIA: Solution To Refugee Problem Depends On E Timorese - Task Force Chairman

Kuta, Bali, Feb 1 (ANTARA) - The solution to the refugee problem rests on the East Timorese themselves, in deciding soon whether to join Indonesia or not, chairman of the task force for the refugee problem, Basyiruddin Yusuf, said here Thursday.

Yusuf made the statement to ANTARA, commenting on the increasing complications in the refugee problem, particularly following the killing of three United Nations relief workers in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province last year.

He pointed out that if the East Timorese refugees decide to stay in Indonesia, they should abide by Indonesian laws.

The Indonesian government and the United Nations have agreed on four steps in solving the refugee problem -- repatriation, resettlement, registration and reconciliation.

Until Jan 25, the Indonesian government had repatriated some 40,000 refugees from Kupang and Atambua in East Nusa Tenggara to East Timor.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government has also appointed a number of areas for the relocation of the refugees, with a composition of 60 percent for the local people and 40 percent for East Timorese.

"The government is building 300 units of houses in the village of Umakelaran in Atambua, some 20 km from the border (with East Timor) ," Yusuf said.

For the purpose of registration, the Indonesian government and the United Nations have been preparing the necessary supplies and instruments, including the printing of registration forms.

On the occasion, Yusuf cited reconciliation as one of the most important steps in solving the refugee problem.

"No outsider should interfere in the reconciliation among the East Timorese," he said.


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