Subject: AN: Former E Timorese Residents Have Right To Vote

Also: People on Border Areas Don't Care About Withdrawal of Un Troops

FORMER E TIMORESE RESIDENTS HAVE RIGHT TO VOTE

January 26, 2004 11:24pm Antara

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara, Jan 24 (ANTARA) - Former residents of East Timor who are now living in Indonesia and alraedy have identity cards have the right to vote and to be eelcted in the general elections next April, a local General Elecctions Commision spokemsn said here Saturday.

"If they already have IDs it means they have become Indonesian citizens and therefore they have the right to vote or be slected . The most important thing is that they have been registered as voters," Hans Ch Louk, the spokesman of the East Nusa Tenggara province's general elections committee, said.

Indonesia plans to hold legislative elections next April.

So far only one former East Timorese resident has been registered as a legilative candidate namely Armindo Soares, the former chairman of the former East Timor legislative assembly.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)

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PEOPLE ON BORDER AREAS DON'T CARE ABOUT WITHDRAWAL OF UN TROOPS

January 26, 2004 11:25pm Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Jan 25 (ANTARA) - The people living in border areas shared by Indonesia's province of East Nusa Tenggara and East Timor did not care about the UN Peacekeeping Force (UNPKF)'s plan to withdraw its troops from East Timor in May.

Chairman of the Belu district legislative council, Herman J Loe Mau, made the remark here Sunday in response to worries of people in East Timor about possible security problems following the planned withdrawal of the UNPKF troops, especially those deployed in East Timor's districts of Bobonaro and Covalima which directly border on Belu district.

"Since September, 1999, the UNPKF troops have been deployed in East Timor, especially in Bobonaro and Covalima districts which directly border on Belu district in East Nusa Tenggara. Their duties will expire in May," Herman said.

Meanwhile, the people living on the border areas in East Nusa Tenggara did not mind the UNPKF's plan to pull out its troops, he said.

Herman further said the people in East Nusa Tenggara did not care about the UNPKF's plan to withdraw its troops because it was East Timor's business.

The important thing is that the people in East Timor would remain living in peace and could prevent new conflicts following the upcoming withdrawal of the UNPKF troops, he said.

The Indonesian people did not want new conflict in East Timor as it would prompt a great number of people from the nascent state to take refuge in border areas in East Nusa Tenggara, he added.

"Empirically, the wave of East Timorese refugees had created problems in border areas in East Nusa Tenggara. It had disrupted the security situation there," he disclosed, adding that the refugee problem had also disrupted development programs in East Nusa Tenggara.

In addition to security problems, the flow of refugees also posed health and sanitation problems and the refugees lived on land owned by the local people, Herman said.

He expressed hope the people in East Timor would not repeat political conflicts and physical clashes like those occurring in 1975 and 1999 that had claimed many lives and caused material losses.

"The East Timorese government and people should not fear that security in the country would be disrupted following the withdrawal of the UNPKF troops from the border areas, while the people in East Nusa Tenggara worry about new conflict and many East Timorese would take refuge to the province," he said.

On a plan of the United Nations Security Coordination (UNSECOORD) officials to visit border areas in East Nusa Tenggara in February to evaluate the security condition there, he said it would also not affect the life dynamism in the province.

So far the people have been living in peace and not influenced by the alert status in border areas, while they considered that the UNSECOORD officials' visit would be the UN affair, he said.

"The UN officials' visit would not disrupt development programs which have been carried out by the East Nusa Tenggara administration and people," Herman said.

East Timor officially seceded from Indonesia 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 United Nations never recognized the integration process.


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