Subject: ABC: E Timor gradually resuming control of its border

ABC Online Monday, April 28, 2003. 6:25pm (AEST)

[This is the print version of story]

E Timor gradually resuming control of its border

For the first time, the East Timorese Government has begun taking control from the United Nations over its border with Indonesia.

East Timorese and UN authorities have today opened a new facility at Batugade to streamline immigration, police and border patrol operations along the border with West Timor.

The security facility was built by soldiers from Australia's 57 battalion based in Darwin, and funded largely by Britain.

Australian Lieutenant Colonel Michael Lean says the UN is now in the process of relinquishing control of the border to the East Timorese.

"The significance is that no longer is the UN responsible for maintaining that border," he said.

"What we have done by building this facility and assisting with the training is that we're giving the East Timorese people now the chance to actually take control and carry out those normal government functions that we accept as standard in Australia."

© 2003 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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