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Indonesia Confident Of Resolving Ambalat Dispute With Malaysia

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JAKARTA: Indonesia is confident that its boundary dispute with Malaysia over Ambalat could be resolved through diplomacy.

The republic’s Deputy President Jusuf Kalla described diplomacy as the best approach to settle the quagmire and that the International Court of Justice should only be the last resort.

“The dispute is actually about demarcation. The two countries had used their own measurement in determining the boundary even though there is an international standard for it.

“Nevertheless with Malaysia it can be resolved through negotiations although it may take a long time,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama here recently.

He said only if there was no other way of settling the issue should it be brought to the International Court, which Indonesia had had experience in, such as the claims on Pulau Sipadan and Ligitan which were eventually recognised as Malaysia’s territories.

Jusuf cited certain factors that had influenced the territorial claims, such as history and situations faced by the people.

He said culturally and language-wise the people of Malaysia and Indonesia were from one origin but because boundaries did not exist between the two countries in the old days, migration was common between them.

“It is only after both countries obtained their respective sovereignty that the issue of boundary surfaced but then again it is only a matter of technicality.

“We come from the same origin.. many of the Malaysian people are from Indonesia and are Bugis, for instance Pak Najib (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak); others from Java, and some Malays went to Sumatera,” he cited.

The deputy president said although history showed that there had been conflicts between Malaysia and Indonesia in the 60s, these ended with good diplomacy and both now have good ties in politics, economy and trade.

While negotiations are ongoing in the overlapping claim over Ambalat which had existed since 2002, both countries have their security forces guarding the territory.

— BERNAMA

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