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August 12, 2020

PNG and Indonesian Military Officials Seeking Joint Solutions

Senior PNG and Indonesian military officials are in discussions over placements of Indonesian government establishments near and inside the Papua New Guinea side of the border.

This follows a joint verification mission in April this year, where representatives of both governments investigated incidents that occurred along the southern end of the border.

A special meeting was held earlier this month to review this and other matters.

The three-day meeting in Bali last week was attended by Military and government personnel from both governments.

On their agenda was the review of the Standing Operating Procedure. The SOP guides the interaction between the two military forces. The SOP has remained a working document for 18 years.

Also discussed in the meeting was the placement of military liaison officers in Jayapura, and Vanimo, and specific conditions such as diplomatic immunities attached to these positions.

While an update of the April Joint Verification Mission was not presented at this meeting, it is understood both governments will present their reports in the upcoming Joint Sub Committee on Security meeting in November.

This subcommittee is part of Foreign Affairs Joint Border Committee that deals with issues relating to the border.

The April mission was to investigate three incidents.

One was in relation to five Indonesians who went missing, following the grounding of their ship which was found in PNG waters.

The other incident involved lowering of a flag and the re-establishment of a border monument.

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