Subject: AN: Gov't to Increase Markets in Border Region


November 19, 2003 7:42pm Antara

Kupang, Nov 19 (ANTARA) - The government may increase the number of market places in the border region with East Timor, especially for the storage of merchandize for export to the neighbouring country.

The matter came to the surface when mentioned by domestic trade director general at the ministry of industry and trade Rifana Erni during the socialization of a cooperation agreement with East Timor in Kupang.

The three existing market places -- temporarily closed following the shooting of an East Nusatenggara resident by East Timorese police -- are Mota'ain in East Tasifeto subdistrict, Turiskain in Raihat subdistrict and Motamasin in Kobalima subdistricrt, all in Belu regency.

He said the cooperation agreement with a neighbouring country is not a new thing. Indonesia, in fact, has established similar cooperation with Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

Kupang and the regency in the western part of Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, have become targets of socialization of the cooperation agreement with East Timor, as this country is a newly independent nation, while some of the people and administrations on the border region still have a lack of understanding and knowledge about foreign relations.

In June 2003, Minister of Industry and Trade Rini Soewandi and East Timorese Foreign Minister Ramos Horta, on behalf of their respective governments, signed a bilatereal border crossing cooperation agreement.

The agreement went into effect 150 days after the signing so that the East Nusatenggara provincial administration is now busy socializing the agreement.

In the meantime, the domestic trade director general said that the development and building of the border region have to be done by different sectors to improve the welfare and economy of the local population.

The bilateral agreement, he said, is one form of responsibility of the governments of both sides to accommodate the interest of their peoples, as the peoples of the two countries still share an ethnic origin, and their traditions have so many things in common.

Under the agreement, he added, immigration, customs and quarantine problems can be overcome, as well as the flow of goods and people in the border region.

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