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Indonesia may be ready to call off match against Israel

Written by: Staff
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JAKARTA, July 4 (Reuters) An emotive match due to be played in Israel between its Fed Cup team and Indonesia's may be called off because of Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip.

An Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman said today Jakarta was reconsidering whether the Indonesian team should go.

Leading women tennis players from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, were set to clash with their Israeli counterparts in a world group II playoff on July 15-16.

''Previously, we said that competing there for the Indonesia team is possible,'' Desra Percaya said.

However, he added: ''Seeing the current situation of military aggression by Israel attacks which are execrable and that the victims of its attacks are the civilian people of Palestine, we are reconsidering.'' Israel and Palestinian authorities are locked in a dispute over an Israeli soldier seized by Palestine militants in a raid from the Gaza Strip, with Israel subsequently launching various military actions in the area.

Foreign ministry, sports ministry and Indonesian Tennis Federation representatives would meet later on Tuesday to discuss the issue, Percaya said.

Ferry August Raturandang, vice president of the Indonesian Tennis Federation, told Reuters: ''I don't know about it yet. In this case, we will talk to the (Federation) chairman.'' In late May -- after debate and confusion over whether the team would go and an unsuccessful attempt to change the venue -- the Indonesian foreign ministry had said it regarded the match as unrelated to political issues and bilateral relations between Indonesia and Israel.

Indonesia is a staunch supporter of Palestinian sovereignty and a critic of Israel, with which it does not have diplomatic relations.

The issue is important to the international agenda of many local Muslim and secular politicians in Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy.

REUTERS PM KN1126

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