28 Aug 2008

Indonesia praises PNG for smothering Papua issue

2:12 pm on 28 August 2008

Indonesia's ambassador to Papua New Guinea has praised PNG's Government for blocking the West Papua issue from being raised in recent meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Islands Forum.

Bom Soerjanto made these remarks at a reception to celebrate Indonesia's 63 years of independence.

In recent Melanesian Spearhead Group meetings, Vanuatu pushed for West Papuans to be granted observer status in the MSG.

These attempts were blocked by the PNG Government which also ensured the issue didn't make the agenda for this month's Forum summit in Niue.

Mr Soerjanto says relations between his country and PNG have been buoyed by bilateral arrangements which mean each country respects the other's territorial integrity including the agreement on border arrangements.

However, the PNG newspaper, The National, reports that Indonesian military aircraft have been invading PNG's airspace in a shift from terrestrial to aerial incursions.

This is despite Jakarta recently apologising for incursions by its troops who had been harassing Papua New Guineans in and around the border villages.