Subject: JP: RI, E. Timor agree on assets conversion, border issues

RI, E. Timor agree on assets conversion

The Jakarta Post October 9, 2002

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia and East Timor agreed on Tuesday to convert Indonesian assets in East Timor, mostly corporate assets, into equity investment in the newly born state.

Concluding the first joint commission meeting on Tuesday, the delegations of both countries agreed to further discussions within the next six months.

"Both parties agreed in principle to find innovative settlement on corporate assets through conversion of those assets for Indonesian investment including joint ventures," a joint statement issued after the meeting said.

Speaking at a press conference with his counterpart Jose Ramos Horta, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said the equity would then be managed by a future joint venture company between Indonesia and East Timor.

The assets in question ranged from buildings to gas stations belonging to Indonesian state-owned companies.

The proposal to transform the assets into equity came from the Indonesian side.

East Timor, meanwhile, proposed that both countries reduce the number of troops on both sides of their border, with Indonesia agreeing to the proposal.

The two countries also agreed to discuss and settle land borders within a working group. This group would meet in November to determine the demarcation lines.

They also agreed to discuss future cooperation in legal and judicial issues.

"The meeting took note of the importance of the two countries working together to make every effort to finalize an agreement on cooperation in legal and judicial matters," the statement said.

The meeting deferred talks on resolving other contentious issues such as those on sea borders, traditional people's movement across the borders and pension funds for East Timorese civil servants and soldiers, who were working for the Indonesian government before the territory voted to separate from Indonesia in 1999.

Discussion on maritime borders would start in the first half of next year.

On people movement and trade between East Timor and Indonesian-controlled West Timor, the two countries agreed that it would be conducted under Indonesian regulations until a new arrangement was reached.

Regarding refugees, both parties agreed problems would be settled by the end of the year.

East Timor president Xanana Gusmao, a former independence guerrilla who spent seven years in an Indonesian jail, is due to visit West Timor later this month to encourage more refugees to return home.

East timor agreed on Tuesday to preserve the Seroja cemetery where Indonesian soldiers killed in East Timor are buried, at the expense of the Indonesian government and give Indonesians access to the compound.

The next round of talks are expected to be held in Dili, East Timor.

Indonesia, East Timor agree to enhance bilateral ties

JAKARTA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua)--The first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between Indonesia and East Timor ended here Tuesday, agreeing to set up five working groups to address residual problems and boost bilateral relations.

The five working groups will further discuss the social and border issues, the cooperation on trade and finance, educational and cultural affairs, transport and telecommunication as well as settlement of legal matters, according to a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting. The delegation of Indonesian government was led by Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, and East Timor was by his counterpart Jose Ramos Horta.

''Thus our meeting has added momentum to our endeavors at resolving some residual issues and intensifying our bilateral cooperation,'' Wirajuda said during his closing remark, adding that the meeting has evaluated a number of suggestions that have potential for further development.

''I believe such cooperation will develop the relationship of the two countries,'' said Horta. The Indonesian government agreed to facilitate technical assistance in banking services and to supply the medical needs in the medical sector in East Timor. The two sides agreed to seek a comprehensive solution in the interest of further strengthening cooperation between close neighbors on residual legal matters such as assets (private individual, corporate and government) and the issue of refugees.

In addition, both sides agreed in principle to find an innovative settlement over corporate assets through conversion of these assets for Indonesian investment in East Timor including joint venture. The meeting took note of the importance of the two countries working together to make every effort to finalize an agreement on cooperation in legal and judiciary matters.

Indonesia, E. Timor reach time-bound accords on border issues

JAKARTA, Oct 08, 2002 (Kyodo) -- The governments of East Timor and Indonesia concluded a two-day joint commission meeting for bilateral cooperation Tuesday, reaching a number of time-bound agreements on border issues.

"In an atmosphere of cordiality, we deliberated on a wide range of issues and concerns that are of importance to our countries," Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said in his closing remarks.

During a press conference along with his East Timor counterpart Jose Ramos-Horta, Hassan said the first joint ministerial commission meeting agreed to establish five working groups on border issues, trade and finance, legal matters, social, educational and cultural affairs, and transport and telecommunication.

"We, two ministers, have agreed to instruct them to give mandates to them to work as soon as necessary...we have time-bound measures to implement further those basic agreements," Hassan said.

According to Hassan, both sides agreed that efforts started in April to demarcate the two countries' 172-kilometer land border could be completed by June 30 next year in accordance with the 1904 treaty between Portugal and the Netherlands and the 1914 arbitrary decision. Earlier Monday, Ramos-Horta said he hoped for a gradual downsizing of military forces on both sides of the border so that "our border will be managed by a civilian agency on both sides and that a free-trade zone can be established between East and West Timor." The downsizing is needed as there have been neither disturbances by pro-Jakarta militiamen along the border nor pressure on the refugees, Ramos-Horta said.

"The information we have is that the security situation in West Timor has improved significantly, dramatically," he told Tuesday's press conference. The meeting also agreed to discuss maritime boundary issues in a separate forum and will commence an informal dialogue at the earliest opportunity in the first half of next year.

In February in Bali, the two sides agreed to come up with an arrangement to allow for people and goods to move between East Timor and Indonesia-ruled West Timor by commercial bus service and other means, and to recognize and regulate illegal markets operating along the border.

The illegal markets were officially regulated in May, just a few days before East Timor gained full independence on May 20.

Both sides agreed to sign the arrangement by December, Hassan said.

Hassan did not go into details on the arrangement that has been regarded as important especially for people living in the East Timorese coastal enclave of Oecussi, surrounded by West Timor on three sides.

However on Monday, he said he and Ramos-Horta would discuss an arrangement that may make it possible for people living within 2 km of the border to cross the border using jointly issued identification cards instead of passports and visas. While the arrangement has not been signed, both sides provisionally agreed to continue allowing persons residing in Oecussi to cross into West Timor for traditional, social and family visits as well as economic contacts and small-scale and customary trade at five junction points.

On the question of the Indonesian assets left in East Timor, Hassan said both sides agreed to find "a win-win solution."

"I understand there is recognition of the need to address this issue in an innovative manner for the mutual benefit of the two sides," he said.

Both parties, he said, agreed in principle to transform the assets of Indonesian corporations into equities in the form of Indonesia-East Timor joint ventures.

"We have also an obligation to work earnestly to fully address the question of assets owned by individuals," he said, adding that a technical meeting will be conducted within six months. The ministers agreed to hold the joint commission meeting once a year and the second meeting will take place in the East Timor capital Dili next year. By Christine T. Tjandraningsih

Indonesia and East Timor agree to settle border demarcation


Jakarta (dpa) - Indonesia and its new neighbour East Timor on Tuesday wrapped up their first round of bilateral talks on sensitive issues such as the demarcation of their common borderline, refugees and Indonesian assets left behind in their former territory.

The two sides agreed to ``make every effort to finalize agreement by 30 June 2003 on a line that constitutes the border in accordance with the 1904 treaty between Portugal and The Netherlands,'' said a joint statement issued after the two-day meeting.

East Timor was a Portuguese colony for 400 years before Indonesia invaded the territory and occupied it in 1975.

The first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC), was led by Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda and East Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta.

The JMC meeting was set up to identify the outstanding issues between the two countries and define new areas of cooperation.

Indonesia occupied East Timor between 1976 to 1999. It has numerous sensitive issues to settle with its newly independent neighbour, including the repatriation of 250,000 East Timorese refugees and Indonesian claims to assets in its former colony.

The JMC's joint statement agreed to encourage all East Timorese refugees currently in West Timor to return home by December, 2002, ``and to resettle those refugees who opt to remain in Indonesia in places allocated by the government of Indonesia.''

In a United Nations sponsored referendum the East Timorese people overwhelmingly voted for independence from Indonesia in August 1999, unleashing a wave of murder and mayhem perpetuated by pro-Jakarta militias that left the former territory in ruins and its people terrorized.

After two years under U.N. administration, East Timor finally declared itself an independent nation on May 20, 2002.

``Both sides agreed in principle to find innovative settlement on corporate assets through conversion of those assets for Indonesian investment including joint ventures,'' said the joint statement.

The two countries also agreed arrange border crossings and regulated markets on their common border to preserve relations between border communities.

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