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Cablegate: Liaison Officers Reach Across Indonesia

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJA #2947/01 2950148
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220148Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6742

UNCLAS JAKARTA 002947

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS AND EAP/PD

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPAO ECON CMGT APER ID

SUBJECT: LIAISON OFFICERS REACH ACROSS INDONESIA

1. SUMMARY: Embassy Jakarta launched a liaison officer (LO) program
to key strategic areas in Indonesia: Yogyakarta, Kalimantan,
Semarang and Papua. Two person teams of entry level officers and
officers with content area expertise were designated as the
Embassy's primary representatives to these areas. After their
initial visits in late September and early October 2007, LOs
reported great local interest in developing stronger ties with the
U.S. Embassy on numerous issues, including economic development,
trade, environmental preservation, educational enrichment, mutual
understanding, security and consular services. LOs said the program
is developing their skill sets and allowing for a wider range of
professional experience. End summary.

INCREASING ACCESS AND UNDERSTANDING
-----------------------------------

2. The program envisions increasing local leaders' access to the
Embassy and increasing the Embassy's capacity to carry out Mission
objectives across Indonesia. The primary goals of the LO program
are: to further the Embassy's knowledge of the target areas, develop
a network of leaders and future leaders, increase public diplomacy
outreach, coordinate other Embassy visits and provide professional
development opportunities for the officers involved. These officers
provide a valuable service to the Embassy in covering regions of the
country that had previously been covered by the consulate in
Surabaya (Yogyakarta and Semarang) or received less coverage due to
distance (Kalimantan and Papua).

3. Currently, the entry level participants are all first tour
consular officers and their partner LOs are more experienced
officers from the public affairs, economic and political sections.
Benefits to consular officers include greater opportunities for
developing contacts, networking, public speaking, writing reporting
cables, collaborating with other Embassy components and learning
about resources and programs of public and private U.S.
organizations. Greater familiarity with these regions will improve
the quality of visa adjudication for residents of these areas and
establish more regular contact with American citizens for consular
services. Additionally, LOs from other sections use this program to
build their expertise in designated regions and in content areas
within their respective portfolios.

ENVIRONMENT DOMINATES THE AGENDA IN KALIMANTAN
--------------------------------------------- -

4. Kalimantan LOs focused their initial trip on environmental issues
in the northeast region of the island. Local government officials
and NGO representatives introduced them to a number of the area's
successful marine preservation projects that included conservation
education, turtle nesting habitat conservation, aquaculture and
ecotourism. Local environmental NGOs asked for assistance in finding
and creating ties with U.S. NGOs that share common goals. LOs
voiced support for local efforts to conserve natural resources at an
event attended by approximately 35 NGO members, local officials and
press.

EDUCATION AND AID ARE TOP PRIORITIES IN YOGYAKARTA
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. Yogyakarta LOs reached out to universities and NGOs on
educational issues and disaster relief. They met with a small group
of university officials and student leaders at Sanata Dharma
University and discussed a wide range of topics from U.S. student
visas to American culture. They discussed possible areas of
cooperation, including an exchange program with a U.S. university.
LOs learned about the role of U.S. affiliated organizations in local
relief efforts, including Rotary Club's reconstruction assistance to
earthquake damaged areas.

BUSINESS AND EDUCATION HIGH ON THE LIST IN SEMARANG
--------------------------------------------- ------

6. Semarang LOs concentrated their attention on the business and
educational sectors. Local government and business leaders asked
for assistance with developing their tourism industry and trade
capacity, particularly in terms of food, furniture and textile
exports. They, along with university representatives, asked about
forming links with U.S. institutions, for example, through the
Sister Cities program and university partnerships. LOs visited the
American Corner at the Walisongo Semarang State Islamic University
and met with English Club students regarding topics for future
programs. LOs also toured the Tanjung Emas Port and viewed security
upgrades made in response to U.S. Coast Guard inspections.

PAPUA
-----

7. In November 2007 LOs will accompany the Ambassador to visit
Jayapura, Papua Province and the surrounding area, as well as tour
the PT Freeport Indonesia gold and copper mine.
U.S. EMBASSY OUTREACH IS ON THE RISE
------------------------------------

8. LOs are following up on possible areas of cooperation between
local officials and the Embassy or other U.S. institutions. They
will maintain communication with their counterparts in the
designated areas and plan regular visits every three to four months.
Future trips will include significant public diplomacy outreach,
including programs geared towards university students and consular
issues.

HUME

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