31 Jan 2007

British MP urges Indonesia to stop army attacks in Papua

4:07 pm on 31 January 2007

A British MP, Andrew Smith, has written to the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, calling on the Indonesian military to stop its attacks on Papuan civilians.

This comes as the British foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, is to hold talks with the Indonesian foreign, defence and trade ministers in London.

Mr Smith has also called for the Indonesian government to respect the Papuans' right to choose between staying in Indonesia or independence.

Indonesia annexed Papua in 1969 after a controversial UN-backed referendum in the former Dutch colony.

The letter will be delivered to the Indonesian Ministers in London by a Papuan independence activist, Benny Wenda, who lives in exile in Mr Smith's constituency.