Monday, January 09, 2012

Papua New Guinea accepts RI jet intercept story

Papua New Guinea (PNG) says it has it accepted Indonesia’s explanation over the Air Force jets scrambled to meet a plane carrying top PNG diplomats through Indonesian airspace.

Bilateral relations between the countries remained “solid” and needed to be further expanded, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill said according to a statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post.

O’ Neill earlier threatened to expel Indonesian Ambassador to PNG Andreas Sitepu from Port Moresby, following reports that two Air Force jets intercepted a PNG Falcon jet carrying Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and other senior officials to PNG from Malaysia on Nov. 29.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry Marty Natalegawa summoned PNG Ambassador to Indonesia Peter Ilau on Friday to offer an explanation for the incident.

On Monday, the PNG government issued a press statement announcing its satisfaction.

“Prime Minister O’Neill is satisfied with the Indonesian government’s response to the mid-air incident involving the Falcon jet and reassures Indonesia on maintaining diplomatic relations,” the PNG Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said in the statement.

“Prime Minister O’Neill accepted and thanked the Indonesian government for its high-level and prompt explanation that the incident arose out of a ‘discrepancy of the original flight clearance authority’ issued by the Indonesian government for the Falcon aircraft.”

The Indonesian government said that the approval for the Falcon jet to use Indonesian airspace was for the period of Dec. 3 -7, and not Nov. 29, the day of the incident, the statement further said.

The Indonesian government was also quoted as saying that the TNI’s interception of the PNG jet was to “visually identify the aircraft” and that it was in line with “strict domestic standard operating procedures and normal international aviation practices” to deal with such situations.

“When it was established that the aircraft belonged to the PNG government, the Indonesian Air Force fighter jets retreated. The Indonesian government is still carrying out further investigation internally to verify if there was any formal approval granted for the Falcon jet to use Indonesian airspace on November 29, 2011,” PNG added in the statement. 

No comments:

Post a Comment