Subject: RI Navy to Build Base Near E. Timor Border [+Assets, Border Issues]
BBC Worldwide Monitoring July 29, 2004 Source: Detikcom web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 28 Jul 04
Indonesian navy to build base near East Timor border
Text of report by M. Hanafie Holle entitled: "Guarding the border, navy to build base at Saumlaki"; published by Indonesian Detikcom web site on 28 July
Ambon: In order to anticipate future events in the border regions of Maluku Tenggara Barat Regency which borders East Timor and Australia, the Ambon Main Naval Base will build a base at Saumlaki in the Maluku Tenggara Barat Regency.
The islands bordering the two above countries include Kisar, Teor, Leti, Moa, Lakor and Wetar.
The commander of VIII Main Naval Base, Commodore Lily Supramono, made these comments to detikcom at the office of the Maluku governor after meeting the Minister of Tourism and Culture on Wednesday 28 July .
Lily explained that next October the United Nations would hand over authority to the East Timor government and thus it was time to establish a naval base on the border region.
Lily Supramono said that although we hope it does not happen, in order to anticipate a mass exodus after the transfer of authority, we will build a naval base because in border regions like this there must be a base and if we do not, it would be difficult to detect events occurring there.
Currently the navy has a naval post on Romang Island, yet they cannot access all future problems.
In addition to anticipating an exodus, the navy also fears the existence of foreign interference as the southern areas of Maluku Tenggara Barat are very vulnerable to the entry of foreigners. "It's an area where foreigners can enter very easily," Lily Supramono said.
The Jakarta Post Friday, July 30, 2004
Assets, Border Issues Await RI's Envoy to E. Timor
Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, Jakarta
Newly installed Ambassador Ahmed Bey Sofwan said assets, reconciliation and border issues would be high on his agenda as the country's first envoy to East Timor.
"I would like to focus on reconciliation between East Timorese living in that country and those who still live in West Timor," Ahmed said after his installment ceremony on Thursday.
Over 20,000 East Timorese, mostly former pro-Jakarta militia members and their families, live in refugee camps in West Timor. They are reluctant to return to East Timor for fear that they will be prosecuted for rights abuses committed in 1999.
Ahmed, a former high-ranking official at the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), was installed on Thursday along with seven other new envoys, including politician Jacob Tobing, who was appointed ambassador to South Korea, and Makarim Wibisono, who will serve as the permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
"I do not think my previous position in BIN has anything to do with this appointment. Working in BIN does not necessarily mean that I am a spy like James Bond," said Ahmed.
Ahmed's appointment comes some 18 months after East Timor sent Rev. Arlindo Marcal to Jakarta as its first ambassador to Indonesia.
"The installment of the Indonesian ambassador will definitely support the ongoing negotiations between the two countries on various residual issues," Marcal told The Jakarta Post.
He said his office was currently collecting data on 6,000 asset claims in East Timor by Indonesians.
"Only after the Indonesian government completes the data will we send the cases to Dili for verification and further processing," the ambassador said.
Jakarta and Dili have met twice to discuss, among other issues, Indonesian assets in East Timor and have agreed to set up a subcommittee to deal with asset claims. The subcommittee, however, has yet to be formed.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda said that with the appointment of Ahmed as Indonesia's ambassador to East Timor, the ongoing negotiations on land borders and assets could move forward.
"We have to conclude discussions on about 10 percent of land border issues before we can open new negotiations on maritime borders. The border issues will be the main duty of the envoy," Hassan said.
He said the decision to appoint Ahmed as Indonesia's ambassador to East Timor had nothing to do with his position as a senior intelligence officer, but rather his capabilities and qualifications.
Ahmed served as deputy head of Indonesia's Trade Office in Taipei before joining BIN.
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