Subject: LUSA: Jakarta has no 'concrete plans' to place troops on islet - General

21-01-2004 19:06:00 GMT . Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-5765627 Temas: East Timor: Jakarta has no 'concrete plans' to place troops on islet - General

Jakarta, Jan. 21 (Lusa) - A senior Indonesian army officer denied Wednesday that Jakarta had any "concrete plans" to station security forces on an islet disputed with East Timor, but reaffirmed Indonesia's claim to it.

"We have no concrete plans to station troops on the island near East Timor...it is not an urgent necessity", Indonesia's Antara news agency quoted Major-General Sufiadin Yusuf as saying.

The general's comment came one day after the "Jakarta Post" cited the commander of West Timor, Col. Moeswarno Moesanip, as saying 10 to 15 soldiers and police would be stationed on Sinai islet, dubbed Batek by Indonesia, as soon as appropriate shelters were built.

East Timorese Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta reacted Tuesday to the initial report describing any Indonesian military deployment on Sinai as a "provocation" both to Dili and the United Nations.

Earlier, Ramos Horta issued a protest over Jakarta's having held military maneuvers on the uninhabited, football field-sized islet late last year.

Antara quoted Gen. Yusuf, the commander of the Udayana military region, which includes West Timor, as saying Dili had "no basis" for protests because "the island is ours" and "whatever use we make of it is our business".

The general added that Jakarta did not want the islet to "suffer the same destiny" as two other small islands that the International Court of Justice attributed to Malaysia in a dispute with Indonesia.

EL/SAS.

Lusa

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