Subject: AN: House Urged to Approve Open Indon in Dili

HOUSE URGED TO APPROVE OPENING OF INDON EMBASSY IN DILI

December 4, 2003 12:15am Antara

Jakarta, Dec 2 (ANTARA) - Foreign Minister Hasan Wirajuda on Wednesday expressed hope that the House of Representatives (DPR) would endorse a proposal to change the status of the Indonesian interest section in East Timor into an embassy.

Because of Indonesia's many interests in East Timor, the interest section was no longer relevant to present conditions, he said at a working meeting with the House Commission on defence and information.

"We hope that the DPR will endorse our proposal to change the status of the interest section into an embassy and then we can post an ambassador in Dili," he said.

According to the minister, a number of countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and China had already posted ambassadorial-level representatives in the East Timorese capital of Dili.

He said there were many issues that had to be resolved immediately, including the borders shared by the two countries, Indonesian assets left behind in East Timor, and East Timorese refugees given shelter in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara.

"Given the many problems, we hope the House Commission will endorse the proposal to change the status of the Indonesian interest section into an embassy," he said.

East Timor was Indonesia's 27th province before a UN-administered ballot in August 1999 showed the vast majority of East Timorese to prefer independence from Indonesia.

The ballot returns sparked mass riots in East Timor, prompting hundreds of thousands of East Timorese to flee to the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara.

Earlier, the House Commission said it needed time to study the foreign minister's proposal to change the Indonesian interest section into an embassy.


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