Subject: ABC: E Timor to protest warship intrusion

ABC NewsOnline

Last Update: Wednesday, September 22, 2004. 6:54pm (AEST)

E Timor to protest warship intrusion

The East Timorese Government will lodge a formal protest with Indonesia after an Indonesian warship intruded on its territorial waters.

The crew threatened to board an Australian tourist dive boat during the incident.

The incident occurred 300 metres off the shore of Atauro Island north of Dili on Sunday but no-one on board was injured.

The boat refused an order to prepare for boarding and was chased at high speed for 10 minutes before the warship gave up and returned to international waters.

East Timor's Minister for Internal Administration, Rogerio Lobato, says the incident was a clear breach of his country's sovereignty.

"We understand that after 2 nautical miles is what we consider international waters, 300 metres is too close to our shore," he said.

Mr Lobato says warships regularly breach his country's borders and a formal protest will be made to Indonesia.

"According to the information we have from the population, very often the Indonesian warships pass very close to our shore, in a very clear violation of our sovereignty."

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs says the incident is a matter for Indonesia and East Timor.

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