Subject: West Timor Press Summary 2108 - 010901

Please find attached, and below as text, summaries from the West Timorese Press from the 21st August - 1st September. Receipt of translations is not always regular, hence the delay in this posting.

West Timor Press Summaries 21st August - 1st September 2001 NTT X ? NTT Eks pres; PK ? Pos Kupang; ST ? Surya Timor; RT ? Radar Timor; SP ? Sasando Pos

Tuesday, 21 August 2001

PK: The Commander of 161/Wirasakti Military base, Col. Budi Haryanto stated yesterday that TNI has no plan to deploy more troops at the border prior to the 30 August election in East Timor.

PK: Out of the seven top government officers of Belu District that had been questioned by police, two of them were officially named suspects in the alleged embezzlement of former East Timorese Civil Servants' salaries. Police Chief of Belu, Adj. Snr. Comr. Nender Yani told the press yesterday in Atambua that the two suspects had already been transferred to Provincial Police Base in Kupang. Further investigation will be conducted to probe the possible involvement of other staff of Belu District office.

Thursday, 23 August 2001

NTT X: A New Zealand Government delegation team visited Kupang on 22 August and held talks with the Governor of West Timor, Mr. Piet Tallo. During the meeting the New Zealand delegation informed the governor on their assistance, which they have given through a local organization called Alfa-Omega. The New Zealand delegation expressed readiness to provide more assistance in the coming five year if they feel that the aid had contributed to development of the people of the province. However, the Governor of West Timor told the delegation that he had no precise information of the aid provided through local organizations. He added that most of the donor countries were providing aid directly to local organization without involving the provincial government. Moreover, the local organizations seldom report about their programs or activities to the government. The Governor then suggested the two delegates to inquire directly to the respective non-governmental organization on report of the assistance. Furhtermore, they also asked many questions regarding the handling of East Timorese refugees and the result of the latest refugee registration. The visiting delegates were Paul Wellis from the Ministry of Trades and Foreign Affairs of New Zealand and Sarah Kare, First Secretary of New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta.

Friday, 24 August 2001

PK: UN Peace Keeping Force expressed their wish to the Indonesian Military not to close the border during the general election in Dili, East Timor. Borderline Security Taskforce Commander, Let. Col. Magna Chandra stated in Atambua on Friday.

Saturday, 25 August 2001

RT: The anxiety and worries of the people of East Timor towards Xanana's political stance were answered when he officially expressed his readiness to run in the election for the first President of East Timor. On Saturday, Xanana spoke in front of a large number of the supporters of political parties at a sport stadium in Dili East Timor and stated that he is going to contest for the Presidency of East Timor

RT: An investigation team of Indonesian Police led by Snr. Com Goris Mere is planning to present the results of an investigation on the murder of a New Zealand Peace Keeping Soldier in front of Heads of Prosecutors' office of NTT and UNTAET today (25/8) in Kupang. Contacted last week, Gories Mere conceded the hearing schedule of the investigation, adding that the team had already completed its investigation in East Timor and the questioning of witnesses in New Zealand. During the investigation, the Police had already questioned 22 witnesses, out of whom 17 are from East Timor and the rest are in New Zealand including three expert witnesses from New Zealand.

PK: Starting from Sunday (26/8) until Tuesday (4/9), the borders between West and East Timor will be closed temporarily due to the forthcoming general election in East Timor. Police Border Post Chief, Serg. Maj. Apolinario da Silva, stated yesterday in Motaain that he had already received instruction from his superiors for temporary closure of the borders during the election in East Timor. The border crossing activity will resume on 5 September . Tuesday, 28 August 2001

NTT X: The government of East Nusa Tenggara has already took necessary measures to anticipate the impacts of the general election in East Timor on 30 August including the exodus of people from East Timor to West Timor. The Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Piet Talo told the press after meeting with the Vice President, Hamzah Haz on Sunday (27/8) in Jakarta. He further elaborated that the precautionary measures should be taken since there is still a chance of possible unrest after the election in East Timor. However, the governor shared the perspective that the election campaigns and the election preparation had been running smoothly. He wished the election to be successful and the repatriation process of the refugees to resume shortly. He said that the repatriation of East Timor refugees is crucial due to limited agricultural lands and social facilities available for the refugees in West Timor. Meanwhile, in the border areas a routine coordination meeting was held between Indonesian Military-Police and UN-PKF yesterday in Batugade. The meeting produced an agreement not to halt the border crossing activities during the election period in East Timor.

NTT X: Thousands of refugees from Suai, Covalima districts expressed their willingness to return home starting from early next month. Covalima Reconciliation Forum Coordinator, Helio Caetano Moniz stated on Sunday (26/8) that out of the total of 18,000 Refugees from Suai residing in Betun, at least 15, 000 would return home next month. Helio just returned to Betun after a visit of East Timor. He was there on the invitation of UNTAET to facilitate the reconciliation and repatriation process of refugees.

PK: At least 50 people living near the post of Turiskain, in Haekesak subdistrict, Belu, occupied the Office of Legislative Assembly of Belu on Monday (27/8). They protested against the confiscation of their merchandise by military personnel during the illegal trades at Malibaka river, known for the past two months as the "technical coordination line of NTT and Timor Leste". One of the trader, Marsel Arjon Seran stated that the total value of the seized goods could reach up to Rp.100 million excluding the tips for the military personnel.

PK: In the budget for the year of 2001, the central government has allocated the fund amounting to Rp. 4 billion for the provincial Police of NTT to build facilities to observe the activities around the border of East and West Timor. Provincial Police Chief of NTT, Brig. Gen, Jacky Uly, M.Sc, told this to the press after inaugurating the new Police post in Motaain, which is located within the technical coordination line of NTT and Timor Leste. Meanwhile, it was reported that starting from early September, Indonesian Police and UN Civilian Police would conduct the routine meeting twice a month to share the criminal cases being faced and discuss ways to tackle them.

RT: The scheduled hearing of results of investigation of UN-PKF soldier's murder failed to materialize yesterday since the Head of Prosecutors' office of UNTAET had yet to arrive in Kupang. The hearing postponed until 3 September .

Wednesday, 29 August 2001

PK: The plan to temporarily close the checkpoints at the border of West and East Timor is still unclear. According to Commander of Danrem 161/Wirasakti, Col. Budi Heriyanto, he has received order from Regianal Military Commander of Udayana, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa to close the checkpoints until 5 September. Maj. Gen. Willem da Costa had reportedly revealed the plan to close the border during an Inter Commander Meeting held in Denpasar Bali on 27 August to the Commander of UN-PKF, Let. Gen, Boonsrang Njumpradit.. Furthermore Col. Heriyanto stated that the decision to close the border was made based on the request of Belu District Commissioner, Mr. Marsellus Bere. He is concerned for the exodus of people from East Timor, should the election process turn violent. However, during the meeting of Commanders at Batugade held on the same day (27/8) between UN-PKF and Indonesian Military and Police, an agreement reached not to close the checkpoints during the election period in East Timor. According to Col. Budi Heryanto, the decision reached at the Batugade would be automatically annulled since a decision on a higher level of Commanders had been reached in Denpasar by the top Commanders of the two forces. Quoted by Antara on Tuesday, Sergio de Melo, the UNTAET chief expressed his wish on continuation of the border crossing activities during the election, reasoning that the presence of 12, 000 Australian troops and Indonesian Military personnel at the border are able to secure the border areas. The sudden instruction of closing the checkpoints shocked the border crossers, security personnel, Immigration and Customs officers yesterday at the Batugade Post, which was guarded by UNPKF troops. According to Capt Grant of UNPKF troops, he received the instruction to close the border at 1pm yesterday.

PK: Frente Revolucionario de Timor Leste Independente (Fretilin), the party predicted to win majority of votes in the forthcoming election, showed off its force on the last day of campaign yesterday in Dili, East Timor. The party supporters lined up along the streets of Dili for the whole day yesterday carrying the party attributes and then finally gathered at the Municipal stadium of Dili in the afternoon to attend the speech of the party's prominent campaigner, Mari Alkatiri. One of the Central Committee members of the party, Francisco Cepeda, stated that the show off force was aimed to display the huge support received by the party from the people of East Timor before the election on 30 August .

PK: The people of Balibo district, East Timor have prepared the polling stations around their district and are ready for the election to take place tomorrow. Antara reported from Balibo yesterday that the election staffs established by UNTAET had worked hand in hand with the people in Balibo to build 12 polling stations mostly located near the public buildings and schools. Symbols and photos of candidates of constituent assembly members are displayed in front of each polling station.

NTT X: The head of election observing team of Indonesia, Abdul Nasier stated yesterday that the presence of his team in Dili was on the invitation from the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. The team particularly is committed to support the new country to hold a fair election as what has been expected. Furthermore he stated that the result of the election would become the parameter for the people of East Timor towards democracy. The result would also show that Indonesia has completely left the history behind.

Saturday, 1 September 2001

PK: The number of people who voted in the East Timor election on Friday (31/08) exceeded the initial target of voters. Out of 425, 000 registered voters, 93% or at least 339, 000 cast their votes on Thursday. An Electoral Officer of the United Nations' Independent Electoral Commission, Carlos Valenzueala told this in Dili yesterday. He stated further that the commission just made the target of at least 91% of the total eligible voters would turn out in the election. He reported that there were six boxes of invalid voting cards (torn). Three boxes were from Dili and one from each District of Baucau, Liquisa, and Viqueque. The local Police have reportedly secured the boxes. The result of the counting process would not be expected until September 10th, 2001. Although the election was considered successful, complaints were rife about the slow process of voting at polling stations due to technical problems.

PK: Foreign affairs minister of Timor Lorosae, Mr.Ramos Horta stated yesterday that his country is willing to accept the Norwegian Freighter, Tampa, carrying 438 asylum seekers mostly from Afghanistan. The ship is currently floating near Christmas Island of Australia. However, he stated further that East Timor would be willing to accommodate the illegal immigrants as long as the international world would help in giving aid.

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