Subject: AFP: Indonesia keeps border with ETimor shut

Agence France Presse -- English

March 24, 2007 Saturday 6:28 AM GMT

Indonesia keeps border with ETimor shut

KUPANG, Indonesia, March 24 2007

Indonesia has kept its border with East Timor shut despite Dili's requests to open the crucial supply link, an official said Saturday.

"Indonesia denied East Timor's requests to open land borders that have been closed since February 26," local Indonesian governor Piet Alexander Tallo told reporters here.

Indonesia shut border crossings last month following a request from East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta to prevent armed militias led by rebel leader Alfredo Reinhado infiltrating into Indonesia.

However, the move had a major impact in East Timorese supplies that are mostly imported through the border with Indonesia.

The East Timorese consul in Kupang, Caetano de Sousa Gutteres, said late Friday that his country had submitted an official request for the border to be opened on March 1.

"We asked Indonesia to open the border so supplies, about 90 percent of which come in through land crossings, into East Timor (can return to normal)," he said.

East Timor started campaigns for a April 9 presidential election on Friday. Ramos-Horta, the prime minister and Nobel laureate, is seen as favourite to win.

Candidates have signed a code of conduct designed to ensure the election is fair and peaceful, amid fears of unrest related to Reinado, who is being hunted by the international security force and is said to have some popular support.


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