Indonesia, Australian military officials meet over Papua row

Indonesia, Australian military officials meet over Papua row
In this handout photograph released by the Indonesian Military (TNI) on February 8, 2017, Indonesian Military Chief Gatot Nurmantyo and Chief of Australian Army Angus Campbell pose for a photo at the military headquarters in Jakarta.

JAKARTA - Australia's army chief has apologised for comments deemed insulting to Indonesia that were contained in teaching material found at an Australian military base, Indonesia's armed forces chief said on Wednesday.

However, no decision has yet been made on fully restoring defence ties, General Gatot Nurmantyo said.

The material in question referred to Indonesia's eastern province of Papua needing to be independent and "discredited the TNI, the nation of Indonesia and even the ideology of Indonesia," Nurmantyo had said previously.

Papua province forms part of the island of New Guinea and borders the country of Papua New Guinea.

The affair prompted Indonesia to suspend some defence ties with its neighbour last month.

Nurmantyo met Australian Lieutenant General Angus Campbell in Jakarta to discuss Australia's investigation into the teaching material.

"Lieutenant General Campbell conveyed regret and apologized for the incident," the Indonesian military said in a statement.

Campbell said that the Australian military would impose sanctions on all the personnel involved, according to the Indonesian statement. Australian officials were not available for comment.

The two countries have extensive military cooperation, which ranges from counter-terrorism to border protection.

Indonesia suspended military ties in 2013 over revelations that Australian spies had tapped the mobile telephone of then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

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