DILI (AFP) - Indonesia reopened its border with East Timor on Thursday because the fugitive rebel who caused its closure is no longer considered a threat, an official said.
"As of today our border is reopened," Indonesia's Ambassador to East Timor Ahmed Bey Sofwan said on Thursday, just over a month after the crossing, a key supply link, was shut.
Dili asked for the border to be closed to stop renegade soldier Major Alfredo Reinado and his armed supporters escaping into Indonesia.
But President Xanana Gusmao wrote to his Indonesian counterpart saying Reinado no longer posed a threat to East Timor or border security, Sofwan said.
Gusmao had accused the rebel, a persistent problem for troubled East Timor, of stealing weapons from police posts along the crossing.
Indonesian commander Lieutenant Colonel Hotma Hutahaean said his country had deployed 1,000 soldiers along the border to maintain security.
Its closure interrupted the movement of supplies into impoverished East Timor, which on April 9 holds its first presidential poll since achieving independence from Indonesia in 2002, after 24 years of occupation.
Brigadier Mal Rerden, the commander of the international force, said his troops were still committed to capturing the renegade but played down the danger he posed.
"Reinado no longer poses a significant threat. He is now reduced to small groups with very limited movement or support," Rerden said.
"Through his actions he has shown that he is not trustworthy and does not deserve support or assistance," the brigadier added, before calling on Reinado to surrender to the authorities.
Of course, this also means that the important land-link to Ocuessi is now open, which can only be good news.