Subject: AN: E Nusa Tenggara Administration Reminded of Batek Isle Issue

E NUSA TENGGARA ADMINISTRATION REMINDED OF BATEK ISLE ISSUE

January 26, 2004 11:25pm Antara

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara, Jan 25 (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Home Minister Hari Sabarno has called on the East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration to pay more attention to Batek Isle which is adjacent to East Timor's district of Oecusse.

"I remind the East Nusa Tenggara administration of Batek Isle. The tiny island is really unpopulated but it is frequently visited by our brothers from the newly born country for recreational purposes. So, we have to be careful," the minister said here Sunday.

The minister made the call to East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration's officials including district heads when handing over assistance in the form of rice and transportation means for border areas in the province.

Batek Isle is situated in Amfoang Utara area, Kupang district, East Nusa Tenggara, which directly borders on East Timor.

East Timor is a former Indonesia's 27th province which officially seceded from the archipelago in October, 1999, as a consequence of the proindependence camp's victory in the UN-organized popular consultation held on August 30, 1999.

The territory integrated into Indonesia in 1976 but the UN never recognized the integration process.

According to the minister, the East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration should begin taking measures like routine visits and patrols to the islet or regularly sending officials to the location.

The minister said the East Nusa Tenggara administration should also consider the importance of setting up state symbols on the islet like the Red and White flag or monuments symbolizing Indonesia.

"The islet is ours but those who visit it are not Indonesians. This may pose a problem in the future," Sabarno said.

The minister expressed hope the transportation means provided by the central government could be used to monitor every activity on Batek Isle.

The loss of Sipadan and Ligitan to Malaysia has inspired Indonesia to safeguard its islands including Batek Isle bordering on other countries.

The International Court of Justice voted 16:1 in favour of awarding the Sipadan and Ligitan to Malaysia on December 17,2002.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)


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