Indonesia, Timor-Leste establish new forum process to settle border disputes

The Mota’in border post of the Republic of Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Image: Antara

Indonesia and Timor-Leste have agreed to establish a Senior Official Consultation (SOC) forum to formulate the settlement of border disputes.

The agreement was made following a meeting between Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Wiranto, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and Timor-Leste’s minister of development planning and investment at Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday.

“Indonesia and Timor-Leste agreed to form SOC, which is a small group that will discuss the technicalities in the agreement to settle land border disputes in Noel Besi (in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara) and Citrana (in Timor-Leste).

“The discussion is scheduled on March 10 in Bali,” Wiranto told the media.

He stated that the discussion would be directed to create steps to settle disputes comprehensively and create a bilateral agreement later.

Retno said there are still two unresolved segments on the border between Indonesia and Timor-Leste, which are located between Noel Besi and Citrana and between Bijael Sunan and Oben.

“With Timor-Leste, we have had long negotiations. In view of that and based on goodwill, the two governments finally agreed to set up the SOC to expedite the settlement of the negotiations in the two segments,” she noted.

She said Timor Leste’s Foreign Minister Roberto Soares would be sent to represent Timor-Leste in the SOC, while Indonesia would be represented by the Director-General of Asia Pacific and Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Desra Percaya.

She said that the settlement of the land border disputes would also involve communities in the two countries disputed border areas.

“We have agreed to invite communities in the border areas to share their views, in addition to the government-to-government settlement process,” she added.

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