Subject: LUSA: Indonesians left behind euros 212 million in property - Jakarta

East Timor: Indonesians left behind euros 212 million in property - Jakarta

Jakarta, Sept. 8 (Lusa) - Jakarta has reportedly estimated that Indonesian businesses and nationals left more than euros 212 million in properties in East Timor after the territory's 1999 independence plebiscite.

Newpapers cited Foreign Ministry official Ratna Lestari Monday as issuing the figure.

They quoted Lestari as saying Jakarta was asking Dili "simply" to "allow the opportunity for legal recognition" of the Indonesian claims, adding that eventual compensation from East Timor would "not necessarily be financial".

The issue of such Indonesian claims was perhaps the thorniest bilateral matter raised at the Friday-Saturday meeting in Dili of the two countries+ Joint Ministerial Commission.

The commission's final communique, which underlined advances in many areas of bilateral cooperation, recognized "the complexity" of the problem.

Both sides agreed "to study the creation of an institutional base" to consider "acceptable and encompassing alternatives and solutions" for the issue.

Under current Timorese legislation, the deadline for registering properties is next March.

Dili's public stance has been to defend a "clean slate" approach to the question of compensations.

It has argued that Indonesian claims could spark a wave of counter East Timorese claims over Indonesia's 24 years of occupation and the scorched-earth withdrawal of its forces in 1999.


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