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Neighbors to discuss border problems

Indonesia and Timor Leste look to end long running disputes

  • Albertus V. Rehi, Kupang
  • Indonesia
  • September 12, 2012
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Indonesia and neighboring Timor Leste will try and settle their longstanding border problems at an upcoming meeting of the Joint Border Commission.

“Currently, there are three unresolved issues related to border areas between Indonesia and Timor Leste. We will discuss them in October,” said Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa. He was speaking to reporters in Jakarta yesterday after a meeting with his Timor Leste counterpart, Jose Luis Guterres.

Natalegawa was referring to demarcation issues and clashes over the “neutral zones” between the two countries.

In the meantime, we will continue efforts to maintain peace in the region,” the foreign minister added.

Violence flared in August between Indonesian villagers in North Central Timor district and East Timorese from Oecusse district over a disagreement on the location of a new customs office in the neutral zone.

Villagers from both sides hurled stones at each other, but there were no reports of serious casualties.

Similar tensions exist at two other border points between Indonesia and Timor Leste.

North Central Timor district head Raymundus Sau Fernandez expressed hope that the border commission talks will finally iron out the problems.

“It is important that both countries know exactly where their territories lie,” he said.

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