Indonesia backs down on threats to sever military ties

Indonesian soldiers hold up headbands in the color of the national flag during a military-sponsored interfaith rally. Source AAP.
Indonesian soldiers hold up headbands in the color of the national flag during a military-sponsored interfaith rally. Source AAP.

INDONESIA has backed down on its threat to suspend all military ties with Australia, according to reports.

Cabinet minister Wiranto issued a statement this evening explaining that the suspension will only apply to language classes at Special Forces facilities, the ABC reported.

It's a stunning reversal from comments made only 24 hours earlier that Indoensia would suspend all military activity and co-operation with Australia after one of its special forces officers was offended by a poster and training materials at a Perth army base which were insensitive to Indonesia's position on West Papua - a nation which has long-sought independence.

It was reported yesterday that a wikipedia article about former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's father-in-law and his controversial military service in West Papua is what sparked the suspension.

It was revealed this week the Indonesian military suspended defence co-operation with Australia last month without President Joko Widodo or his defence minister's involvement.

AAP understands the material concerns information taken from the online encyclopaedia website Wikipedia about the late General Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, who is considered a national hero in Indonesia.

Wibowo was involved in leading the purge of communists in Indonesia in 1965. Before West Papua became Indonesian territory, Wibowo oversaw the 1969 referendum dubbed the "An Act of Free Choice" which has since been widely condemned as a sham when only 1025 people were selected to vote. The Indonesian trainer was also offended by a poster that ridiculed Indonesia's founding ideology, Pancasila.

Topics:  editors picks indonesia military

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