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Indonesia Stopped The Laissez-Passer

(Timor Post Editorial/23/2/01)

The Indonesian Consulate in East Timor has announced that Indonesia will stop issuing laissez-passer to East Timorese who want to enter Indonesia and for East Timorese in Indonesia who want to visit East Timor.  According to the Indonesian Consulate, the decision was taken because UNTAET would be issuing East Timorese national passports.  Thus, from March 2001, Indonesia
would no longer issue these travel papers.

This presents an opportunity for UNTAET and East Timorese to take a good strategic position viz-a-viz building a relationship with Indonesia, based on diplomatic ethic. The relation up to now has followed a classical model, even though UNTAET are foreigners who are very well versed in diplomatic ethic.  On the other hand, the East Timorese leaders are without "bite" in the face of the confusion already created by the laissez- passer, that has a potential for creating more problems in the future. Thus this decision of the Indonesian Consulate is very important and very good.

There are already numerous cases where the laissez-passer has been implicated.  Car thieves in Atambua and Kupang can come and go with only this one piece of paper.  Criminals involved in car and motor thefts, violent acts and assaults against women can simply run across the border into Indonesia. We do not want this situation to continue and are confident that the East Timorese leaders and UNTAET know what the people want in this instance.

UNTAET and CNRT/NC have special programmes for refugees in the name of Reconciliation. However these must be conducted without the use of force.

We note that UNTAET and also CNRT/NC are ambitious in bringing the refugees back.  They forgot that no one could force another to follow his/her wishes or to choose his/her national status.  No laissez-passer should be further issued in the name of reconciliation for persons to come in and out of East Timore. This is too" cheap."  It is better, if UNTAET and CNRT/NC really want reconciliation not to allow the stability of East Timor be affected as it is now.  Reconciliation can always be carried out, but not too hastily.

It should also not be forgotten that law and justice is the first agenda of UNTAET, and even more so of CNRT/NC or political parties.


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