Sat, 22 Jan 2000

Separate province for Flores urged

MAUMERE, Flores: Some 200 non-governmental organization activists from the East Nusa Tenggara islands of Flores and Lembata demanded on Friday the creation of a separate province.

In a gathering which was also attended by all six regents from the two islands, religious leaders and the deputy governor for the northern territory, representatives of the six regencies signed a petition which will be submitted to the governor.

"The establishment of a Flores province is a must. We came to this unanimous decision after thoroughly analyzing the natural resources of the island and its vicinity since last October," the chairman of the event's organizing committee, E.P. da Gomes, said.

In response to the demand, Deputy Governor Emanuel Lamabelawa welcomed the people's aspirations and promised to channel it to the governor.

Flores, the island next to Timor, is part of East Nusa Tenggara. The island is home to 1.6 million people. (yac)