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Timor: preparatory meeting on joint funding appeal

Briefing notes

Timor: preparatory meeting on joint funding appeal

18 April 2000

More than 500 East Timorese were scheduled to sail today (Tuesday) from the West Timor port of Kupang for Dili in East Timor, bringing to more than 160,000 the number of returnees since the UNHCR-IOM repatriation programme started in October.

All of these returnees came from Tuapukan camp just outside Kupang and include 30 demobilised soldiers in the Indonesian army, or TNI. This is the second largest group of ex-TNIs to return to East Timor. Early this month, 60 demobilised soldiers repatriated without major problems.

A preparatory meeting on a joint appeal for funding of an assistance programme for East Timorese refugees in West Timor was held today in Kupang. Representatives of UNHCR and other UN agencies, IOM, NGOs and the government participated in the meeting. A two-and-a-half-day workshop will be held next week to decide on the amount needed.

On Monday, UNHCR met with the armed forces chief and discussed UNHCR's repeated request that TNIs and ex-militias be separated from refugees in the camps controlled by pro-Indonesian elements. Separation is essential before UNHCR takes over direct distribution of aid in the camps.