TONY Abbott has issued a stern warning to West Papuan activists, declaring he would not allow Australia to become “a platform to grandstand against Indonesia”.
The Prime Minister’s comments come as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said three West Papuan activists who made a series of political demands at the Australian consulate in Bali left the building voluntarily in a taxi.
Speaking at the APEC summit, Mr Abbott said he wanted to stress “in flashing neon lights” that Australia’s relationship with Indonesia was strong and people seeking to grandstand against the country were “not welcome”.
“We have a very strong relationship with Indonesia and we are not going to give people a platform to grandstand against Indonesia — I want that to be absolutely crystal clear,” he said.
Mr Abbott said Australia respected the territorial integrity of Indonesia, and claimed the situation in West Papua was “getting better, not worse”.
Ms Bishop dismissed suggestions by the Greens that Australian officials threatened to hand three West Papuans over to the police. “I understand that the three men left voluntarily, that there were no threats made at any time,” she told The Australian.
She said the three men delivered a letter to the Australian consulate, spoke with the consul-general, and then telephoned a friend to collect them. She said when the friend could not be reached, they phoned for a taxi.
“I am advised that the consul-general did not make any threats at any time,” Ms Bishop said.
Source: The Australian