PNG WILL NEVER SUPPORT SEPARATISM IN IRIAN JAYA

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BIAK, Irian Jaya, Indonesia (Sept. 18, 2000 - ANTARA/Kabar-Irian)---The government of Papua New Guinea has assured Indonesia it will never assist separatist movements in Irian Jaya.

Speaking at a press conference on board a Boeing 737-300 flying Vice President Megawati and her entourage back to Jakarta after a short visit to the neighboring country on Sunday, Megawati expressed satisfaction with the results of her four-day visit to Irian Jaya and PNG.

During a meeting in the Papua New Guinean capital of Port Moresby on Sunday, PNG Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta and Governor General Silas Atopare conveyed their government's stance of not supporting separatism in Irian Jaya.

The two PNG leaders have strongly supported the sovereignty of an Indonesian unitary state, including Irian Jaya.

PNG's support, according to Megawati, was very important for Indonesia as it is currently trying to foil the aspirations of some Papuans for secession from Indonesia.

Their demand for independence has gained the serious attention of the Indonesian government, as separatist activities in the eastern-most province have been on the rise.

Other topics discussed by Megawati with the PNG Prime Minister and Governor General included border issues, particularly measures to improve security in the border region.

The borderline between the two countries remains a serious problem as it crosses remote and isolated areas full of natural challenges. This condition makes it very difficult to control security in the border regions, and provides wider access to separatist groups to prepare their strategies.

As to the details of the border talks, the Vice President has entrusted the military (TNI) chief with the task of handling them.

However, Megawati was confident that the issue of Irian Jaya could be settled soon.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News") Internet: http://www.kabar-irian.com 

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