Subject: AN: RI, T-L hope to sign border agreement by August

Antara (Indonesia)

April 24, 2006 Monday


Jakarta April 24

Indonesia and Timor Leste are to sign a land border agreement in August when field work to define the two countries' common border lines is expected to be completed, Timor Leste Foreign Minister Ramos Horta says.

"It is hoped the land border agreement between Indonesia and Timor Leste can be signed in August at the latest," Horta said after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here on Monday.

Horta said the land border between the two countries was one of the issues he had discussed with President Yudhoyono in the meeting.

He said "now only one percent of the border line still has to be determined and technical officials of the two countries are working on it."

Indonesia and Timor Leste have just discussed land border and not yet sea border. Discussion of the maritime border line will only be done after agreement on the land border line has been signed.

Horta said during the meeting with the President he had also explained about the current situation in his country following recent Indonesian media reports that security condition in that country was deteriorating following the sacking of hundreds of military personnel.

Timor Leste Defense Forces' chief Brig Gen Taur Matan Ruak was reported recently to have fired around 600 military personnel or more than one third of that country's regular forces. The military personnel was reported to have deserted to protest nepotism and bad conditions.

Horta said to President Yudhoyono that situation in Timor Leste was peaceful."Today there was indeed a demonstration done by military personnel that have deserted but it went on peacefully," he said.

He said the demonstration attended by almost 600 military personnel would continue in two or three days' time.

The demonstrators demanded the solution of their problems peacefully according to laws."They said they did not want to return to their respective units in the army. There was also effort to hand over their uniforms," Horta said.

He said President Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri had received them.

Horta during the meeting with President Yudhoyono had also conveyed his country's wish to increase economic relations with Indonesia.

"I said to the President we wish to see the implementation of President Yudhoyono's idea about a ministerial-level meeting between the two countries which is focussed on economic cooperation," he said.

The two countries' foreign ministies would follow up the idea and the meeting is expected to be done in the next few months.

Horta said Timor Leste's budget for July 2006-2007 recorded a significant rise namely US$234 million in addition to US$100 million from friendly countries.

In 2002 Timor Leste only had a budget of US$30 million and in 2003-2004 it increased to US$120 million.

Horta said the budget for July 2006-2007 would be allocated for education, health and infrastructure development.

"We hope this year the country's economic growth could reach six percent and next year seven to eight percent," he said.

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