INDONESIA TO TURN BACK BOAT PEOPLE

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC Online, April 29) - Indonesia's Foreign
Minister has suggested his country will intervene in the future when boats enter
its waters trying to reach Australia.

The comments came at the opening of a ministerial conference on
people smuggling in Bali.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda opened the conference by
criticizing Australia over what he called the unfortunate unilateralism that
brought a new level of suffering to Iraq and shunted aside forums like the
United Nations.

But on the issue of boat people transiting Indonesia's waters,
Wirajuda suggested Indonesia is now likely to intervene and call in the
International Organization for Migration, as it did with one Vietnamese vessel
in Batam last week.

He said the best result would be for boat people to be swiftly
returned to their country of origin.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he could not
spell out what undertakings, if any, Indonesia had made regarding another boat
carrying 42 Vietnamese passengers still at sea.

But he said he is certain it will not get beyond Indonesian
waters.

"I am very confident these people won't come to Australia
and we appreciate the approach that Indonesia takes to dealing with these
issues," he said.

April 30, 2003

ABC Online: www.abc.net.au 

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