Congressional concern rises over E. Timor

Indonesian and Australian officials say talks between the two countries are likely to be held early in the new year to try to settle a gap in the ocean boundary between Australia and Indonesia-ruled East Timor.

Australia has not recognized the Indonesian incorporation of East Timor - but there have been strong indications that Canberra is moving toward formal acceptance of the status quo. The belief, according to Canberra aides, is that good relations with so large a close neighbor are of paramount concern and that Indonesian control of East Timor is a fact of life.

The Indonesians blame the Australian press for, as Jakarta sees it, poisoning the attitude of Australians towards its Timor policies with charges of genocide against the native Timorese and allegations that starvation is widespread in East Timor even now.

Recently, however, there's been evidence of change. An Australian wire service reporter has been allowed to establish a bureau in Jakarta.

Australia is being pushed by oil companies toward settling the boundary issue. They point to recent encouraging oil finds between Australia and East Timor.

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