PNG GOVERNMENT WARNS FLOTILLA

The Papua New Guinea Government is warning boatloads of people travelling from Australia to Indonesia, through Papua New Guinea, they will be arrested, charged and prosecuted under P-N-G laws, if they do not have proper entry documents.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato, issued the warning, as three boats loaded with activists in Cairns sail from there to West Papua and Papua province, through Daru, to promote West Papua claims for self determination.

The so-called Freedom Flotilla - three yachts with about 20 Australians and West Papuans aboard - are expected to arrive in the city of Merauke in about a fortnight, without authorisation or proper documents.

The flotilla began sailing from Cairns last Saturday, and it's planned to reach Daru at the end of this month, and from there to land in Papua province.

PNG Foreign Affaris Minister. Rimbin Pato
Minister Pato has alerted authorities in Daru to be on standby to deal with them, if they arrive there.

In a statement last night, Mr Pato says he's concerned this will have wider implications on PNG's relations with Australia and Indonesia, whom he's described as important neighbours. 

He made it clear that West Papua and Papua provinces are an integral part of Indonesia, and foreigners entering PNG must not engage in activities which interfere with PNG's security, and in acts which may undermine the national integrity of Indonesia and Australia. 

A West Papuan activist, Ronny Kereni, told Radio Australia, it's a peaceful cultural exchange. 

Australia has warned them not to proceed, with its Foreign Minister Bob Carr saying they recognise Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua. 

Indonesia has also instructed its navy and air force to intercept the vessels if they enter Indonesian waters. Lisa Pagelio, NBC News, Port Moresby.

Police in Western Province say. they are on the alert for the West Papua Freedom Flotilla, with the Provincial Police Commander, Silver Sika saying the activists will only be allowed in, if they have proper travel documents.
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