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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Meanwhile, back in the Strait of Malacca : Indonesia gives nod to Australian air patrols

Reported here:
Indonesia has given guarded support to a plan for Australian navy patrol aircraft to help guard the strategic Malacca Straits against terrorist attacks and piracy.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib discussed the plan with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Friday, asking if Canberra would consider sending long-range RAAF P-3C Orion patrol aircraft to help oversee the vital 1,000 kilometre waterway.

But reflecting diplomatic sensitivities in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur about foreign intervention, Mr Downer said Australian aircraft would fly only with observers from one of the three neighbouring countries on board.

"They believe the littoral states should have primary responsibility, and certainly should have full responsibility for direct intervention, that is, on-the-water intervention," he said.
UPDATE: Some background on the issues involved with the littoral states here and at the links therein. Red splashes on map reflect previously reported pirate attacks.

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