Subject: JP: TNI Told To Evict Disputed Border Settlers In NTT

The Jakarta Post

Saturday, June 13, 2009

TNI Told To Evict Disputed Border Settlers In NTT

KUPANG: Legislators in East Nusa Tenngara (NTT) have urged Indonesian military (TNI) to expel hundreds of Timor Leste people who have "unilaterally" built settlements along a disputed area bordering Indonesia and its former province.

"The TNI should act firmly. If there is already an agreement that the neutral zone still under the status of dispute should be clear of any civilian activities, the two countries must abide by it," senior NTT legislative council member Jonathan Kanan said Friday.

Jonathan, deputy chairman of the council's security affairs commission, said that unless the TNI took firm action, the disputed 1,069-square-meter area, "rich of mining resources", could be occupied by Timor Leste.

"An international court only recognizes the ownership of a certain area if there are activities there. Never allow for the case of Sipadan and Ligitan [islands that Indonesia lost to Malaysia] to recur," he said.

Council deputy speaker Kristo Blasin asked the Foreign Ministry to pay serious attention to the issue.

"Never let bloodshed break out. This problem can actually be settled through diplomacy," he said.

Kristo called on the two countries to involve communities in finding a solution to the disputed border at Naktuka village in East Amfoang subdistrict in the NTT capital of Kupang. Timor Leste claims the area as part of its Oecusi district.

Earlier, Indonesia's security border force lodged a protest with Timor Leste police, which had allowed its citizens to build settlements in the disputed area. - JP

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