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Indonesia Withdraws Some War Ships from Disputed Area


A spokesman for Indonesia's navy says five of its warships have left a disputed area in the Sulawesi Sea ahead of talks Wednesday with Malaysia.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayuda is to meet with his Malaysian counterpart, Syed Hamid Albar, in Jakarta to discuss competing claims in the oil and gas-rich area. Both countries have vowed to solve the matter diplomatically.

The dispute escalated in February when Malaysia awarded exploration contracts to Royal Dutch/Shell. Indonesia responded by deploying seven warships and four F-16 fighter jets in the area.

The issue has further strained relations between the two countries. Indonesians are also angry about Kuala Lumpur's recent crackdown on several hundred thousand illegal migrant workers from Indonesia.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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