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Agreement on new Timor border checkpoints to assist return of refugees

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UN, INTERFET, the international security force, and Indonesian military officials today signed a memorandum of understanding intended to improve cooperation at the border between East and West Timor, Fred Eckhard, the spokesman for the Secretary-General, announced in New York.
The memorandum establishes checkpoints at 11 border crossings which it is hoped will facilitate the return of refugees to East Timor from the West. Military observers with the UN Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) will liaise between the Indonesian forces and at the checkpoints.

A large number of East Timorese living in the camps near the provincial capital of West Timor, Kupang continue to register for repatriation, with several hundred more gathering in Kupang's transit centre today, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Also today, 346 people returned to the East Timor capital, Dili on a ship operated by the International Organization for Migration, which brought them from Kupang, Mr. Eckhard added.

In other developments, more than 9,000 East Timorese collected applications for UN jobs after UNTAET) launched a recruitment campaign to find local staff to fill 1,905 positions, Mr. Eckhard said.

Later this week, the third meeting of the National Consultative Council, grouping UN officials and East Timorese representatives, is scheduled to discuss a new civil service, which could provide additional employment. Recruitment plans and salary scale for future civil servants are among the items expected to be discussed.