The National, Wednesday, May 25, 2011
PAPUA New Guinea will not accept a “pilot error” apology from Indonesia after one of its military helicopters violated PNG’s airspace last month near the Wutung border post in West Sepik, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Don Polye told parliament yesterday.
Polye said he had summoned the Indonesian ambassador for an explanation on why the military chopper flew 5km into PNG territory on April 14.
“It is a very serious concern to the PNG government and I have summoned the Indonesian ambassador expressing the PNG government views,” he said.
“Should Indonesia wish to cross over, there are arrangements under the bilateral agreements between the two countries to follow including notifying PNG authorities and requesting permission from relevant PNG authorities, including foreign affairs.”
Polye said the incursion by the Indonesian military helicopter was a clear breach of the bilateral agreements.
“The response the Indonesian ambassador gave was that it was pilot error.
“I am not satisfied and I have ordered PNG authorities that there will be no diplomatic discussion or to accept an apology from the Indonesian military until the issue is resolved at the government to government level.”
Polye said he would present a report to parliament over the incursion.
The foreign affairs minister said this during question time in response to West Sepik Governor Simon Solo, who said, at 10am on April 14, an Indonesian military aircraft flew 5km into the Wutung side of the border and was clearly seen by Papua New Guinean citizens and villagers doing business there.
Solo said the people were even refused entry into Batas, on the Indonesian side of the border, because of the incident.
Polye said the security of the people along the border “is of great concern to the government”.
“I have ordered an investigation but I think we should increase patrol along the border region,” he said.
He said the border was not adequately patrolled and there was a need for immediate government decision to relocate defence force bases at Murray Barracks, Lae and Moem barracks to the border region.