06 September 2009

Belu govt rejects Timor Leste minister`s planned visit

Antara Thursday, August 27, 2009 00:29 WIB Kupang (ANTARA News) - East Nusatenggara`s Belu district administration will boycott a planned visit by Timor Leste woman`s empowerment minister to the region in protest against the arrest of a local, Maternus Bere, by the neighboring country`s authorities.

The decision was taken to show to Timor Leste that Indonesia also had self-esteem and could not be made a fool of, the deputy head of Belu district, Ludovikus Taolin, told ANTARA News when contacted by phone from Kupang.

"That's right, we reject the planned visit of the Timor Leste minister of woman`s empowerment affairs. This is our stance," Taolin said.

He said the Belu administration would not allow the minister to come before Maternus Bere, who was arrested by Timor Leste police last August 8, was released and sent back to Indonesia.

On a separate occasion, an official of the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provincial administration, Ricard Djami, admitted he had received a letter from the Belu district administration asking the provincial administration to notify the Indonesian embassy in Dili about the matter.

He said the NTT provincial government would immediately meet the Belu administration`s request and write to the Indonesian embassy in Dili to conduct mediation for the return of Maternus Bere.

Bere was arrested by Timor Leste police in the district of Covalima because of his alleged involvement in killings in the Suai church compound after the vote in 1999 that led to Timor Leste's independence.

He was arrested while attending a traditional ceremony for his late father in Leogore, Suai, Covalima.

Taolin said Timor Leste's action could threaten the brotherly relations between the two regions.

"We wish Timor Leste would respect Indonesia as a brother and also a sovereign state," he said.

Disrespect to each other would only hurt friendship, he said.(*)

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