Subject: UN Starts Ferry Service Between E Timor Capital, Enclave

Associated Press May 4, 2001

UN Starts Ferry Service Between E Timor Capital, Enclave

DILI, East Timor (AP)--The U.N. administration in East Timor said Friday that a regular ferry service linking the capital Dili with the remote enclave of Oecussi will start operating soon.

Chief U.N. administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello signed an agreement setting up the service with an Australian ferry operator during a ceremony at the world body's headquarters in Dili.

Oecussi is an East Timorese province located along the northern coast of Indonesian-held West Timor, 200 kilometers west of Dili.

The enclave is virtually cut off from the rest of East Timor because of poor roads and the presence of pro-Jakarta paramilitaries on the Indonesian side of the border.

Oecussi is protected from the gangs by a Jordanian army battalion, which is part of the 7,500-member U.N. peacekeeping force in East Timor.

The Australian firm, Haritos East Timor Shipping, has operated a freight service from the enclave for the past ten months.

The new once-weekly passenger service is expected to start early next month. The ferry, a converted navy landing craft, will have the capacity to carry up to 150 people and cargo on the 12-hour journey.

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