Subject: U.S. to Help RI with Papua Special Autonomy [+Faleomavaega/Self-Determination]

also: New head of Asia panel in U.S. Congress champions self-determination for Papua

The Jakarta Post Wednesday, January 24, 2007

U.S. to Help RI with Papua Special Autonomy

The United States supports the Indonesian government's implementation of special autonomy in Papua, U.S. Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe said in Jayapura on Tuesday.

He said his government continues to regard Papua as part of Indonesia despite separatist rebels' demands for independence.

"The U.S. government position remains the same, from the past and in the future, which is supporting the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, and special autonomy is the best solution for Papua's problems," Pascoe told reporters at a press conference.

The ambassador (far right in photo), who was on a three-day visit to Papua, said he was happy to observe the developing implementation of special autonomy, as well as the recent peaceful direct election to pick the province's governor.

Special autonomy was introduced 2001 but has been criticized for failing to improve the lives of Papuans, many of whom live in poverty despite the annual influx of funds to regional administrations.

Pascoe said his government would cooperate with the provincial administration to help Papua in areas such as education, healthcare and forestry. The aid would consist of funds, training and other assistance, he said.

The ambassador visited a community health center in North Jayapura where he listened to a presentation from Papua health office head Tigor Silaban on the HIV/AIDS problem in the province. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)


Associated Press Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New head of Asia panel in U.S. Congress champions self-determination for Papua

WASHINGTON (AP): The new chairman of a congressional panel on Asia promises to turn a spotlight on a little known, long-simmering independence movement in the Indonesian province of Papua.

Eni Faleomavaega, American Samoa's nonvoting delegate and an 18-year veteran of Congress, means to examine the North Korean nuclear standoff, the rise of China and U.S. policy on resource-rich central Asian nations and small Pacific islands.

But the fate of Papua is of particular interest to Faleomavaega, whose relatives served as Christian missionaries in the province.

Faleomavaega assumed leadership Tuesday of the House ofRepresentatives' subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. And while the Democratic delegate from the Pacific island territory will have little say in shaping the policies of Republican President George W. Bush, he plans to hold public hearings on Indonesia'sactions in Papua.

That could be awkward for the Bush administration, which opposes Papuan independence and is deeply sensitive to Indonesia's concerns about sovereignty. The world's mostpopulous Muslim country, Indonesia is a crucial U.S. ally infighting terrorism. U.S. officials are wary of undermining thevast archipelago's stability or damaging recently improved relations between the countries' militaries and governments.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Faleomavaega bluntly stated his intention to champion the right of Papua, also called West Papua, to stage a vote of "self-determination" aboutits future.

"The bottom line, as I've said to Indonesian leaders in recent times, is that you've done such a lousy job in your relationship with the West Papuan people, you might as well give them their independence," he said. "If you want to talk about fairness, give the people of West Papua the right of self-determination."

Doug Bereuter, a congressman for more than two decades until 2004 and former chairman of the House's Asia panel, said Faleomavaega's leadership of the subcommittee will bring fresh attention to the issue.


Terjemahan (atas jasa "Kataku"): U_S__to_Help_RI_with_Papua_Special_Autonomy

------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service

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