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Timor: UNHCR-Government meeting positive

Briefing notes

Timor: UNHCR-Government meeting positive

31 March 2000

On Thursday, UNHCR met with the Indonesian Co-ordinating Minister for People's Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, Basri Hasanuddin, on the March 31 cut-off for assistance to refugees in West Timor and local settlement for those who will opt to remain there. The meeting in Jakarta was extremely positive and substantive.

It is UNHCR's understanding that on the cut-off date, there will be a three-month transition period beginning April 1 to allow refugees to decide and take action on their future - whether to remain or return to East Timor. The government will attempt to keep providing basic services to refugees during the transition period but will request international support. What form this will take will be subject to discussion.

The government also will require support in integrating those who will remain in Indonesia. UNHCR has stated that it will help the Indonesian government in resettling refugees who will remain in West Timor.