|Subject: RI Unperturbed By Foreign Troops
In Timor Leste
May 27, 2006 11:03 AM
RI Unperturbed By Foreign Troops In Timor Leste
JAKARTA, May 27 (Bernama) - Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said that the presence of foreign troops in Timor Leste was not causing Indonesia to feel disturbed, Antara news agency reported Friday.
"Not at all. It is an internal affair of Timor Leste. They have asked other countries to send troops to help overcome the security situation," the report quoted Hassan as saying to journalists at the ministry here.
Australia, New Zealand and Portugal recently offered to provide Timor Leste with assistance to cope with an insurgency by cashiered soldiers.
Indonesia was also not closing down its embassy in Dili, Hassan said.
"Indonesia hopes the Timor Leste government is able to handle the situation so that stability is restored," he added.
Hassan said according to latest reports received by his office, some 100 Indonesians had taken refuge in the embassy and in the Santo Yosef church compound.
On Thursday, President Susilo Bambnag Yudhoyono instructed cabinet ministers and high ranking officials to prepare airplanes and ships for evacuation of Indonesian citizens from neighbouring Timor Leste in the event the security situation there worsened.
"Indonesia has prepared means of transportation, mainly aircraft and ships, if it has to evacuate Indonesians from Timor Leste," the president said at a press conference d after chairing a limited cabinet session at his private residence in Cikeas, Bogor, West Java.
It dwelt on the security situation in the former Indonesian province. "Indonesia is very concerned about developments in Timor Leste and Indonesia hopes Timor Leste can recover from the situation," Yudhoyono told the press conference.
He, however said: "I hope it (an evacuation) will not be necessary after military and police officers from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia have arrived there".
He added he could understand if the Indonesian government was not asked to send its military or police officers.
He said all Indonesian soldiers deployed in border areas had been instructed to close the border both to Indonesians wishing to go to Timor Leste and Timor Leste people wishing cross into Indonesia.
At least seven PNTL (Timor Leste national police) members were killed during a shootout in Timor Leste capital of Dili between Timor Leste (FDTL) regular forces and national police (PNTL) personnel, on the one side, and soldiers who had been fired for rebellion and desertion, on the other, on Thursday.
It was also reported that amidst the chaos, a group of Australian troops arrived in Dili to help ease the tense situation in that country.
The Jakarta Post website
Saturday, May 27, 2006
TNI starts evacuating Indonesians from Dili
KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara (Agencies): The Indonesian Military (TNI) has begun evacuating Indonesians from East Timor, as the capital Dili descended into chaos Saturday as rival gangs attacked each other.
The Air Force chief in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, Lt. Col. Historis Bu'ulolo, said Hercules military aircraft made three flights Saturday to Dili to evacuate hundreds of Indonesians who had been sheltering at the Indonesian Embassy.
Historis was quoted by Antara news agency as saying the military aircraft evacuated 140 of the 420 Indonesians from the embassy Saturday, while the others would be evacuated Sunday.
According to Historis, military personnel found it difficult to carry out the evacuation because the road connecting the Indonesian Embassy in Dili to Comoro Airport was tightly guarded by security officers.
There are some 3,000 Indonesians living in Timor Leste, which gained its independence from Indonesia in 1999.
AP reported that Saturday morning young men armed with slingshots and rocks targeted what they believed were the homes of soldiers who assisted Indonesian Military-backed militias responsible for an orgy of deadly violence that accompaniedIndonesia's withdrawal from East Timor in 1999.
The gang members, many of them in their teens, smashed windows before setting houses ablaze. Black smoke clouded the sky above the city.
Thousands of frightened and panicked residents loaded provisions onto trucks and cars and fled to embassies, churches and nearby villages.
The number of casualties from Saturday's violence was not known, but several ambulances raced through the streets with sirens blaring and gangs clashed in several areas of town.
The violence was triggered by the March firing of 600 disgruntled soldiers -- nearly half the country's 1,400-member army -- and is the most serious crisis Timor Leste has faced since independence.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian immigrationoffice deported seven East Timorese who entered the Indonesian territory illegally.
Slamet Santoso, head of the Immigration office in Atambua, a town in the Indonesia-East Timor boder area, said that the seven East Timorese entered Indonesian territory through a sea route in Motamasin district.