7 Feb 2003

Indonesia to stop studies that threaten Papua status

4:51 pm on 7 February 2003

The Indonesian government has called on the international community to stop supporting a separatist movement in Papua province.

The security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, says Indonesia will use diplomatic channels to call on the international community to respect Indonesia's territorial integrity.

The minister says if international support for Indonesia's sovereignty is serious, the international community must not give separatists the opportunity to expand overseas.

He says the government has decided not to allow foreign-initiated proposals to conduct historical or political studies which could intervene in Indonesia's sovereignty.

Indonesian rule is based on a UN-sanctioned 1969 referenedum which critics say was a sham.

The minister's comment comes only days after Indonesia retracted a threat to sever diplomatic ties with Vanuatu which supports the Papuans' campaign for independence.