Subject: AFP: Indonesia rejects UN proposal for land link to East Timor enclave

Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP) Date: 9 Aug 2001

Indonesia rejects UN proposal for land link to East Timor enclave

JAKARTA, Aug 9 (AFP) - The Indonesian government has rejected a United Nations proposal for a land link between East Timor and its Oecussi enclave in West Timor, a report said Thursday.

The refusal of the proposal by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was based on security considerations, said East Nusa Tenggara province vice governor Yohanes Pake Pani.

"UNTAET has already made the proposal and during a joint meeting it had put the proposal on the table for further discussions in one of the subcommittees, but we continue to reject the proposal," Pani said, according to the Antara news agency.

He was referring to meetings of a joint committee between Jakarta and UNTAET.

The enclave, which has a sea outlet, is part of East Timor but surrounded by Indonesian West Timor.

Pani, whose province includes West Timor, said the two sides would reopen talks on traffic in the border area in September.

Finding a model for cross-border cooperation and security in the frontier area would also be discussed.

Pani said that as long as cross-border cooperation was not defined, both sides would be unable to tackle the illegal markets of smugglers which have sprouted along both sides of the border.

But Indonesian authorities say they will be vigilant to essential commodities sold in the illegal markets so that West Timor will not suffer from shortages in light of higher prices in East Timor.

East Timor is currently under UN supervision and will hold elections for a constituent assembly on August 30 in preparation for independence, after voting in 1999 to split from Indonesia.

bs/sm/jit AFP


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