Thu, 24 Jan 2008
KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara (Antara): Business activities are needed in Indonesia's outlying islands in addition to military deployment, international law expert Wilhelmus Wetan Songa said on Wednesday.

"Businesspeople should be directed to manage the outlying islands although we already deploy soldiers to safeguard the island," he said.

Indonesia submitted in December a list of 92 outlying islands to the United Nations for verification.

East Nusa Tenggara province has a number of outlying islands -- including Batek Island in Kupang regency, Mangudu and Salura Islands in East Sumba regency and Dana Island in Rote Ndao regency -- that border Australia and East Timor.

Army and Marine soldier have been deployed on these islands.

Wilhelmus of the Cendana University, however, such deployment was not enough.

"Securing the territory is the state's obligation but must also comes with real activities on those islands," he said.

"Just like what Malaysia did by managing the Sipadan and Ligitan Islands although they are on Indonesian territory."

Wilhelmus also said it was important to take into account financial benefits for people living on the islands or the surrounding regions.

"Simply deploying soldiers on the outlying islands will not become an effective tool without real actions to make those islands our own backyard," he said. (**)



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