INDONESIAN President has appealed to friendly countries to prevent political activity that disrupts good relations as a "freedom flotilla to West Papua" threatens to expose the rawest nerve in the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
The Weekend Australian understands Dr Yudhoyono's government has formally raised its concern with Canberra.
The flotilla is planning to leave Cairns today carrying at least one of the West Papuan refugees at the centre of the last breakdown in the official relationship seven years ago.
Neither government would say yesterday if Jakarta had asked Canberra to intervene to prevent the voyage to Papua province, which both describe as illegal.
The voyage is intended by Free Papua activists and the self-described Federal Republic of West Papua to draw world attention to "ongoing atrocities" by Indonesian security forces.
A senior Indonesian officer, Papua province deputy police chief Paulus Waterpauw warned that any Papuan activist aboard the flotilla who had a "previous criminal record or (if) they are on the wanted list" would be arrested on arrival.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa confirmed that his government had held discussions with Australia and Papua New Guinea, where the flotilla plans to berth in about 13 days before crossing into Indonesian waters.
"Indonesia, Australia and PNG are all on the same page in not wanting such a stunt to interrupt or disrupt our relations," he said yesterday.
Dr Natalegawa described the flotilla as "yet another of these cheap publicity stunts on the part of people who claim to be the representatives of Papua totally disconnected with the reality of Papuan development".
He declined to discuss whether Dr Yudhoyono's comments yesterday in his Independence Day speech were directed at Australia.
"Through this confirmation (of mutual respect for sovereignty) I hope that all parties can be actively worked to prevent political activities that can disturb good relationships between Indonesia and other friendly countries," the President told the national parliament.
"Do not hurt the feeling of Indonesia because we do not want to hurt (others)."
News of the flotilla is sure to provoke an upsurge of anti-Australian feeling in the rest of Indonesia, where the belief that Australia continues to hope to separate Indonesia from its two Papuan provinces persists widely, even among politicians. ‘The Australian’
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