Subject: AN: Indon gov't extends service term of E.Timorese refugees task force

GOV`T EXTENDS SERVICE TERM OF E TIMORESE REFUGEES TASK FORCE

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara, June 15 (ANTARA) - The government has decided to extend until October the service term of the Task Force for East Timorese Refugees Issues in Indonesia`s East Nusa Tenggara province.

Task force chairman, Basyiruddin Yusuf, disclosed here Friday that Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs Agum Gumelar has made the decision.

Originally, the task force`s term was to expire after the registration of the refugees on June 6.

According to Basyiruddin, during the extended term, the task force will help repatriate refugees who had decided to return to East Timor during the registration.

He said the task force will also give refugees who had decided to remain in Indonesia a chance to change their minds and be repatriated.

"The task force will help repatriate any refugee wishing to return to East Timor," he said.

Basyiruddin pointed out that the repatriation can be undertaken for three months starting June 15, Monday to Friday, through three border points -- the posts in Metamauk, Motain and Nebu.

Repatriation can also be made by sea through Kupang`s port of Tenau, he said.

On the first day of repatriation on Friday, the task force managed to send off 35 refugees by land transportation.

Meanwhile, 125 refugees are scheduled to be repatriated on Monday (June 18).

Since its deployment on Oct 16 last year, the task force has repatriated 9,210 refugees grouped into 2,460 families back to East Timor.


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