Indonesia

Indonesia not in MSG to undermine West Papua freedom push

A war of words between Fiji and Solomon Islands has broken out over Indonesia's admission, as an associate member, to the sub-regional group in 2015.

The Solomon Islands deputy prime minister Manasseh Sogavare accused Fiji of forcing other MSG countries to accept Indonesia.

But Fiji's defence minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has said this is not true.

Fiji hits back over Indonesia's place in the MSG

Speaking in the Solomons parliament Monday, Manasseh Sogavare said Fiji should apologise for bringing Indonesia into the MSG.  

He said Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama breached MSG procedure by forcing the other four full members to accept Indonesia as part of the sub-regional grouping, whose full members are Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and FLNKS Kanaks movement of New Caledonia.  

Indonesia was admitted to the MSG with observer status in 2011 after Bainimarama assumed the MSG's rotational chairmanship.  

Indonesia warns MSG states not to meddle in other countries' affairs

The warning was delivered by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's Director General of Asia-Pacific and African Affairs, Desra Percaya, at this week's MSG leaders summit.

The summit was hosted by Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill in Port Moresby.

It was attended by leaders and officials from the other four full MSG members: Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia's FLNKS Kanaks Movement.

Indonesia, which is an associate member, was represented by Mr Percaya who endorsed the MSG's plan on regional co-operation and common prosperity.

Strong earthquake strikes Indonesia; 2 dead

The 6.5-magnitude quake was centered in Cipatujah, in the western part of Java, the US Geological Survey said, at a depth of 91.9 kilometers (about 57 miles).

Residents felt the quake about 190 miles away (305 kilometers) in the capital of Jakarta, where people briefly evacuated to the ground floor of their high-rises.

Tremors were also felt in the cities of Bandung, more than 63.5 miles away (102.1 kilometers) and Yogyakarta, more than 211 miles away (339.9 kilometers), authorities said.

Russia and Indonesia hold military exercise in Papua

The Jakarta Post reported two Ilyushin-76 strategic airlifters brought 81 personnel to Frans Kaisiepo Airport in Biak regency.

A Biak Airport spokesperson Putukade Wempy said the military personnel, who would be in Biak until Saturday, would only be in Biak.

The paper reported that two Tupolev TU-95 bombers were also coming, taking total personnel to 110.

Bali's main airport shuts as volcano alert rises

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said it had raised the alert to the highest level four on Bali's Mount Agung volcano and warned residents in an 8-10 km radius around the volcano to evacuate immediately.

Hundreds of New Zealanders have been stranded as Mt Agung volcano continues to spew ash and smoke high into the sky.

"Grey ash and occasional weak blasts can be heard 12 km (seven miles) from the peak. Flames were visible at night which indicates a potential eruption could happen anytime," Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said in a statement.

Mount Agung: Bali volcano activity prompts 'red warning'

It is the second major emission from the Indonesian island's volcano this week, and flights have been disrupted.

The red warning means an eruption is forecast to be imminent, with significant emission of ash into the atmosphere likely.

Volcanic ash can damage plane engines.

Bali is a major tourist hub. Its main airport is for now operating normally, but some airlines have cancelled flights since volcanic activity was first noticed in September.

Thousands flee as Bali volcano erupts

More than 140,000 people had fled their homes in recent months before Mount Agung began belching smoke 700m above its summit on Tuesday.

However, so far there have been no changes to flights in the region despite the eruption.

Villagers near the mount were first told to leave in August when it started rumbling but were later allowed to return home. Since then the mount has been rumbling intermittently.

Many of those who returned home have now been ordered to leave and stay overnight in village halls and temples a safe distance from the volcano.

Indonesia accepts Pacific's right to raise West Papua concern

According to Antara news agency, Retno Marsudi said Indonesia also had the right to explain.

This comes after last month's fiery response by Indonesia to speeches by some Pacific governments at the United Nations General Assembly.

Prime ministers of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands called for an investigation into killings and various alleged human rights abuses against West Papuans by Indonesian security forces.

In response, Indonesia's representative accused the countries of being manipulated by Papuans with separatist agendas to exploit the issue of human rights.

Forum leaders call for open, constructive dialogue on West Papua

The leaders have called for dialogue to continue in an open and constructive manner.

When asked whether the language in the communiqué around the issue of West Papua was weak, Samoa Prime Minister and Forum Chair, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said, no.

“It’s the most powerful wording we could find. You know these issues are very sensitive, he said at a post-Forum press conference in Apia, Samoa.

Last Wednesday, a small but vocal group of the Free West Papua movement staged a peaceful protest outside the venue of the Leaders meeting in Apia.