Subject: AN: Atambua Safe Local Military Chief Says

Also: EU DELEGATION TO VISIT E NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE

ATAMBUA SAFE FOR EU DELEGATION, LOCAL MILITARY CHIEF SAYS

September 17, 2003 9:45pm Antara

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara, Sept 17 (ANTARA) - A local military chief gave assurance on Wednesday that Atambua, capital of Belu district in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province bordering on East Timor is safe for European Union delegates who are visiting the border areas from September 17 to 19.

The EU delegates' visit was aimed at closely observing the condition of former East Timorese refugees who are now residing in refugee camps in Atambua and resettlement areas in Belu, chief of the East Nusa Tenggara military command Col. Moeswarno Moesanip said.

"We need not escort or guard them (the EU delegates) who want to enter the refugee camps. We want to show them that Atambua is safe for the international community," Moesanip said.

Thus, he said, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should no longer postpone the lifting of the Alert V status in west Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, as security is no longer a problem.

"The security situation in west Timor is very conducive for the international community. But if the lifting of the Alert V status is postponed due to the government's irregularities in handling the ex-East Timorese refugees, it is reasonable," he said.

The UNSC put west Timor under the Alert V status (equal to Alert I in Indonesia) following the death of three staffers of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there on Sept 6, 2000.

They were killed when the UNHCR's representative office in Atambua was attacked by masses of the pro-integration camp as one of their leaders, Olivio Mendoza Moruk, was killed the day before in Betun, some 80 kilometers south of Atambua.

Moesanip pointed out during their visit, the EU delegates would discuss efforts to settle the issue on ex-East Timorese refugees who are still staying in west Timor, especially in Atambua and its environs.

The Belu district administration has also made thorough preparations for the EU delegates' visit to the refugee camps in the district which directly borders on East Timor, Indonesia's former 27th province.

Belu district's deputy head Bria Yohanes said his side was ready to brief the EU delegation on the history of the wave of the East Timorese refugees in 1999, the strategy of handling the refugees and the condition of the local people.

The working meeting jointly held by the National Coordination Agency for Disaster and Refugee Handling and UNHCR in Denpasar, Bali on July 15-17 discussed efforts to settle the issue on the ex-East Timorese refugees.

On the occasion, the two sides managed to formulate four strategies to handle the issue, namely, the transfer of duties of the Indonesian military/police and ex-East Timorese civil servants, voluntarily returning the refugees to East Timor, relocating refugees to other islands and resettling them in west Timor, East Nusa Tenggara.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)

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EU DELEGATION TO VISIT E NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE

September 17, 2003 9:44pm Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Sept 16 (ANTARA)- A delegation of the European Union (EU)'s Representative Office in East Timor will visit Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara province, on September 17-19.

They will observe the implementation of the assistance program of Japanese government worth Rp53 billion for East Timorese ex-refugees in Belu district.

Belu District Deputy Chief Bria Yohanes said in Atambua on Tuesday the EU officials' visit was very important because it could strengthen the trust of donor countries in Indonesia.

The Japanese assistance was mostly used on repairs to clean-water facilities in refugees camps in the district.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)


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