PNG'S SKATE SAYS NO TO IRIAN JAYA INDEPENDENCE

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MELBOURNE, Australia (June 11, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate has completely ruled out supporting independence for Irian Jaya.

Skate says he gave Indonesia's President B. J. Habibie an assurance last week that the OPM rebel movement will receive no encouragement from Port Moresby, Radio Australia reports.

Representatives of OPM, the Free West Papua Movement, have had their hopes raised by the change of leadership in Indonesia. One PNG provincial governor has supported their call for independence but Prime Minister Skate, just back from Jakarta, says it is not an option.

As long as he is Prime Minister of PNG, he says, he will not be entertaining factions of people, whether they are in politics or outside, supporting independence for West Irian from Indonesia.

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