Subject: AN: Batek Island Most Likely Belongs to Indonesia


August 8, 2003 9:40pm Antara

Kupang, Aug 7 (ANTARA) - Batek Island located on the border between Indonesia and East Timor most likely belongs to Indonesia, as the island is very close to Oepoli village, North Amfoang subdistrict, East Nusa Tenggara province, East Nusa Tenggara Governor Piet A. Tallo said.

In a written report to Marine and Fishery Minister Rokhmin Dahuri who visited the province's capital of Kupang on Thursday, Tallo said his administration considered Batek Island a special issue.

The governor pointed out Batek Island which is located at nine degrees 15.39 South Latitude and 123 degrees 56.20 East Longitude adminstratively belongs to Oepoli village, Kupang district.

"Batek Island tends to be in Indonesia, a country with full souvereignty over all its territory once colonized by the Netherlands," the governor said.

He also said the status of Batek Island was not explicitly mentioned in Article III point I of the 1904 Convention for the Demarcation of Portuguese and Dutch Dominions on the Island of Timor, but geographically the island was located in the north of Oepoli village in Kupang.

The Hydrographer (1972) on international bounderies of the International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU) of the University of Durham of the UK said Batek Island belongs to Indonesia (the Claim of East Timor from the Coast of Oecusse is Limited by the Indonesian islet of Batek Island -- Presscott 2000).

However, another publication of IBRU said Batek Island belongs to East Timor (The Timor and The Small Island of Atauro and Jaco -- Deelay, 2001). This statement was considered neutral, credible and internationally recognized.

Meanwhile, for the sake of the future of Batek Island Tallo called on the Indonesian and East Timorese governments to soon make a joint study on the status of the island during the Dutch and Portuguese rules.

The Indonesian government and people are very concerned over the country's thousands of small islands, especially following the loss of Sipadan and Ligitan islets to Malaysia.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, hearing a dispute between Indonesia and Malaysia over the ownership of the Ligitan and Sipadan islands, ruled in December last year that they belong to the latter.

The court's decision is binding and settles a 30-year dispute over the sovereignty of the islands between Indonesia and Malaysia.

In a 16:1 decision, the court ruled in favour of Malaysia on the basis that the islands have been in the control and administration of Malaysia.


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