Subject: Foreign ministry clarifies on UNTAET-Oecusse corridor

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The Jakarta Post [online]

April 16, 2002

Foreign ministry clarifies on UNTAET-Oecusse corridor

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian foreign ministry clarified on Tuesday its position over a proposal by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) that East Timorese public buses be allowed to pass through Indonesian territory to ply the route between Dili and Oecusse, the East Timorese shelter which is surrounded by the province of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia on the western half of the Timor island.

"The Indonesian foreign ministry has never had such an agreement with UNTAET," Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday, adding that there was not an active negotiation process for such a corridor either.

Col. Moeswarno Moesanip, commander of the Wirasakti Military Resort Command, reportedly said in the East Nusa Tenggara capital of Kupang on Monday that the Indonesian Military (TNI) had rejected UNTAET's proposal on the grounds that his troops could not guarantee the safety of East Timorese traveling overland from Dili to Oecusse or vice versa, passing through the Kefamenanu and Atambua regions in West Timor.

UNTAET had reportedly showed interest in arranging an agreement that would allow passengers and cargo on public buses or other modes of transportation from Dili to Oecusse, and vice versa, to be kept on East Timorese buses while passing through West Timor.

Moesanip said the Kefamenanu and Atambua regions still had bands of militant East Timorese refugees.

Moesanip apparently was quoting Maj. Gen. Willem T. da Costa, chief of the Udayana Regional Military Command overseeing Bali and East and West Nusa Tenggara provinces, as having said that the UNTAET proposal was currently being negotiated withIndonesia's foreign affairs ministry.

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