Subject: AN: Indon urged to deploy personnel, ships to E.Timor border

Antara, February 1, 2004

Navy should deploy personnel, ships to East Timor border

ATAMBUA, E. Nusa Tenggara: The Indonesian Navy should deploy its personnel and ships in the waters bordering East Timor to suppress smuggling, a local councillor said on Sunday.

"The Naval presence is very important, because we have heard about the smuggling via sea routes for several years now," deputy speaker of Belu regency council Blasius Joseph Manek said.

Blasius added that the coast guard was not enough to safeguard the maritime border with East Timor.

"The coast guard only has two speedboats to secure the shoreline. I don't think they can intercept any vessels carrying smuggled goods to East Timor," he said.

Since claiming independence from Indonesia, East Timor has been flooded with goods from other countries, especially Australia. However, the people cannot afford these goods, as they are very expensive.

Fuel is one of the most sought-after items, as there is a price discrepancy between the supply for the East Nusa Tenggara market and those for East Timor.

Fuel price is lower in East Nusa Tenggara thanks to fuel subsidy while East Timorese have to buy fuel with international price from Indonesia's oil producer Pertamina.

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