Subject: AFP: Indonesia building four lighthouses on outer islands

Agence France Presse -- English

October 3, 2006 Tuesday 10:26 AM GMT

Indonesia building four lighthouses on outer islands

JAKARTA, Oct 3 2006

Indonesia has begun building four lighthouses on outer islands in its southernmost province of East Nusa Tenggara to assert its territorial claims, an official said Tuesday.

The province includes the western portion of Timor island, which borders East Timor. Australia lies to its immediate south.

"We have started operating the lighthouse on Batek island, bordering with Timor Leste," East Nusa Tenggara's governor Piet A. Tallo told AFP, adding that three more lighthouses would follow on nearby islands.

"The navy has placed some of their troops on the island," Tallo added, without elaborating.

Indonesia is still smarting from the loss of Sipadan and Ligitan islands to Malaysia in 2002 through an international court of arbitration ruling.

Asked to comment on the building, military spokseman Ahmad Yani Basuki said the loss of the islands "should be a warning for this country to increase our efforts in guarding our outermost islands".

In March last year, Indonesia said it would build 25 lighthouses on islands in border areas with Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and East Timor.

Tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia flared in early 2005 when Kuala Lumpur awarded an oil concession in a disputed maritime area. Both countries sent warships to the region but have since agreed to hold talks.

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