Subject: JP: RI - E Timor border demarcation to begin on March 11

Jakarta Post March 06, 2002

RI - E Timor border demarcation to begin on March 11

DENPASAR, Bali (JP): The commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces (UN-PKF) in East Timor Lt. Gen. Winai Phattayakul stated here on Tuesday that the border demarcation scheme -- a joint effort between the Indonesian government and UNTAET to established a mutually acknowledged border between Indonesia and East Timor -- was expected to be completed by June next year.

Speaking during a press conference after attending a regular meeting with Indonesia's Udayana Military Commander Maj. Gen. Willem T. Da Costa, who oversees military affairs in Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara, Phattayakul said that the border demarcation process would commenced on March 11.

"We are hoping that the border demarcation process will be carried out as scheduled on Mar. 11. We have already prepared support for the border demarcation survey technical team, which hopefully will be able to finish their job in a week's time. So they will be able to start again in Oecusi on Mar. 19, andhopefully will be finished within two days," he said.

"We expect that the border demarcation process will be finished by the middle of next year, in June 2003," he said.

Phattayakul also praised the TNI for the good level of cooperation and coordination between the two military organizations.

"I would like to say that we are very happy with the level of cooperation and coordination that we have been receiving from TNI, especially the relationship between myself and General Da Costa, down to every level, and down to every unit. I would saythat it was a very good relationship and very good coordination," he stated.

Commenting on a previous statement made by Maj. Gen. Willem T. Da Costa concerning rampant illegal cross-border trading, which involved people who wanted to make big profits by transporting goods from Indonesian territory to East Timor territory, Phattayakul explained that the prices of goods in EastTimor were relatively higher than the prices in the Indonesian territory of East Nusa Tenggara. Naturally, the price disparities tempted some people to smuggle goods into East Timor.

"I understand that UNTAET is taking this problem seriously, as well as the East Timorese government, because this means that they are losing quite number of revenue that they should get from taxing the goods that are crossing the border," he said.

Previously, Maj. Gen. Willem T. Da Costa stressed that he had already ordered his officers on the border of East Nusa Tenggara to do their utmost to curb the illegal trade, particularly fuel smuggling.

"Our own people in East Nusa Tenggara are facing a lot of difficulties in getting kerosene while there are people who are muggling fuel to East Timor just for the sake of the big profits. This must be stopped," Da Costa said. (zen)

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