World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Robert Zoellick Press Roundtable in Indonesia

Press Roundtable in Indonesia

Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary
Dharmawangsa Hotel
Jakarta, Indonesia
May 7, 2005

QUESTION: Could you start maybe with Timika since there are quite a few questions about that, and you said that there had been some progress, but not enough?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, my point is simply that you know, I had a chance to meet Mrs. Speer. And as a follow up I've talked with the Department of Justice lawyers that are handling the indictment. And because we had some good work with some of the FBI legal attaches that we sent out, we now have somebody that is here sort of full detail. So I took the opportunity to have a chance to talk to him today on the follow-up. I think, I do see progress. But when I say I'm not satisfied, means I'm not going to be satisfied until people are brought to justice.

QUESTION: In other words that one man that has been indicted is this not enough? Do you feel there's more

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I don't know for sure. Some of the evidence suggests that there were three weapons fired, but in some of the discussions it's not clear and here I just forget. I'm afraid I just forget where I've had this before, it was before I came here There's some, one of the discussions, it might have been with someone in the Justice Department, who has suggested that more and more of those people are dead and so it's not clear. So the real point is we need to press forward with the investigation. That's why the FBI agent was here. That's why we are working with the police, and the sense I got was the government understands the importance of that. As I said, the President wrote a letter that certainly suggested his commitment and his understanding of the issue, and the Coordinating Minister couldn't have been clearer about how it's important for him and emotionally how he wants to try to pursue it. But this is an area where finding people and pursuing the case is always going to be a challenge, but we need to try to do the best we can.

QUESTION: What is the problem? TNI is almost everywhere in the country. BIN is just about everywhere. This is just one man. This is not Osama bin Laden. Why haven't they gotten him already?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I don;'t know. Have you been to the region? I haven't been to the region, but from the descriptions, and I do know a little about the island from other things, that it's a once you get outside the villages, it's not so easy to find people. Again, I want to try to make sure that the police and others do everything they can. You talk about TNI. You also know there's differences between TNI and the police on this island. And so what we need to get is a government-wide commitment, which I think we are getting, to try to find the person. But also, as your question stated, let's see what other aspects there are in terms of the investigation. This is also an area, at least where I understand, people move across borders relatively freely, and so that's another aspect of being able to try to pursue the case to justice.

QUESTION: So what other aspects of the investigation would there be in addition to this one individual?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well as I mentioned, there are some of the ballistic evidence suggested that there were other weapons fired. If you read the account of the incident it looked like more than one person was involved. So the question is, can you identify those people, you know, and if so, are they alive and where can we get them. I don't know what the answer to the investigation team is getting, all I know is we need to pursue it thoroughly.

QUESTION: Would it be enough to identify the shooters or do you want to also find out who gave them the orders to kill or shoot?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I think you want to pursue the investigation in all its dimensions but at least what I was able here I have to be a little careful because I think that what I have is all public information from the Justice lawyers because otherwise they probably wouldn't have given it to me if it were under a grand jury seal or something, is the sense that I got is that it was Wamang and whoever else might have been involved, but part of what's the name of the organization?


DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: OPM. Which "organization" is a loose term from what I've learned about it. We want to try to pursue the course of justice. I'm not trying to duck it, I'm just trying to say that there is a course of investigation here. I don't want to get ahead of the investigator. That's why we have a person here to try to pursue it. But we do what to pursue the investigation. And I mean I couldn't have been clearer than that and I've certainly got a sense of support from everybody along the way, "now we have to do the following."

QUESTION: Can I ask a question about this? Initially there was...when that incident happened, the police came out immediately and said it was the army. And then the army cordoned off the area and for a long time there was no investigation and suddenly it turns out that it's the OPM. In the mean time of course, the Army has assassinated the leading political leader in West Papua over some differences over autonomy, I guess. And that's been proven in court. So there seems to be some kind of a shift, someway. Initially it was clear it was the army, now suddenly it's gone toward this OPM group which never had a history of attacking foreigners nor does it seem logical that they would. So that's one question.

And the other one is, since we are talking about

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Let me take it. Your information is different than mine in that, again, from talking to the lawyers You're correct, at least from what I've picked up, that the original suspicion was TNI, but the investigation -- you may doubt the FBI, but they seem pretty serious about committing themselves to the effort, and the Justice Department lawyers certainly are -- is that it doesn't point in the direction of TNI. Instead it points Wamang was on Australian TV for goodness sakes I mean and I don't think he's connected to TNI for anything anybody can tell. So that organization or that group from what I was able to ascertain was engaged in action and it might have been accidental going after this convoy. They might have thought they were going to target some of the around the same time there was some movement of the some of the officials of the corporation on the road about the same time. And so, at least from what I've been able to see, it points towards Wamang and others that were part of this ambush. So that's at least the facts as I've gotten it from the FBI and the Justice Department.

QUESTION: The other issue is since two Americans were killed in this incident that it seems to be holding up military to military cooperation, but another American was killed in Atambura a couple of years before that in a militia attack. You know East Timorese militias were generally believed to be under command of the TNI. He was killed in an attack on a UNHCR office and two others, a Croat and an Ethopian were killed along with him. His name was never mentioned as a condition for resumption of mil-to-mil ties. Why is there this focus on Timika and not focused on Atembua?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, we're also focusing on East Timor. I was emphasizing that at the discussions as part the there's a UN effort as you know to have an investigation and that's leading into what I believe is called the Truth and Reconciliation or Truth and Friendship Process of East Timor. So it's not only focusing on the one incident and it's part of a larger issue about trying to deal with the human rights issues for TNI but also trying to support the reform of TNI.

QUESTION: On that issue of human rights in East Timor, do you first of all think that this Truth and Friendship Commission that the East Timorese and the Indonesians have set up and set up as a an attempt to block the formation of a commission of experts by the UN to look into the justice process so far? Do you think that is going to be a block to getting some kind of resolution on human rights issue in East Timor, and secondly, what do you mean by resolving this human rights issue in Timor? If we were to ask this question of an Indonesian panel, they would say, "Well, it's been resolved. We've had our court process. The people who are guilty were tried. They've gone through our court system. What more do you want us to do?" Do you need a scalp? Do you need someone to be handed over to a court process in East Timor? What is the kind of the resolution that you see to that?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well first off, my understanding is that the UN Commission on Experts is related and to try to supply some information not to the Commission. So at least the information I have is whether POLDEP supplies information to the Truth and Friendship Commission. And so one of the issues that I heard included cooperation with that UN Commission on Experts because the provision of that information would support the credibility of the reconciliation commission. Now there are other issues. For example reconciling boarders and several other aspects of the relationship of the central issue. But, I can't...use the phrase you did about saying one is just trying to get, you know, sort of one result out of the process. I think what I urge more generally was the fact that, while I know these issues are difficult, that what I've seen in other places around the world is, is that bringing out the facts and the evidence over time is the most important part for creating the basis for reform. Now, there is going to be resistance to that, so if you ask what will happen, I can't say for sure. But that's what we're trying to press.

QUESTION: So that would mean that we would bring out..I don't understand

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: The cooperation with the UN Commission on Experts. The UN Commission of Experts has asked, as I understand it, to .

QUESTION: visit Indonesia.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: to visit Indonesia to pursue various experts. Right, as part of gathering evidence on individuals and ask individuals and that relates to supporting the Commission on Truth and Friendship or Truth and Reconciliation, I have heard both used here. And the credibility of that second commission will depend I think in the eyes of the larger world on whether the UN Commission on Experts can have the follow-up. They haven't been able to get that, so yes, that's something we need to continue to press.

QUESTION: Let me ask a question about China. This is the fourth Southeast Asian capital you have been to. Are you hearing identical types of concerns in each of those capitals about China's growing role in Southeast Asia? Are they similar concerns? And if so what are they concerned about?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I would say there is a...just trying to think this out there is a similar perspective but with different shapes. And the perspective is that there is a recognition that China's growing dynamic economy offers growth possibilities for the region and that's a benefit. For some, depending on their profile, it could also offer some great challenging competition to the region. And I think moving beyond the pure economics, all of them sort of recognize that China becomes a growing influence in the political environment as well. I think all of them also felt that this doesn't necessarily have security overtones. They believe that China's primary security interest is stability in the region, while it pursues its own economic growth. But they also recognize that a stronger ASEAN and good relations between ASEAN and the United States are in everyone's interest. And I, from my part, emphasized that we see that we want to integrate China in political, economic and security terms. I'll be taking another trip in either June or July to China for sort of what's called a senior dialogue on a set of strategic issues on both the security and economic side. So, we certainly want to work with China on those aspects as well. They relate somewhat to one of the answers I gave to the question before about, I think the proper U.S. response should be one of activity, cooperation of economic and security and political issues in the region. As for the shapes, which is kind of the interesting, another dimension, is that, you know, as you would probably expect, you know, Thailand always sees itself as kind of a halfway mediator in the region. Vietnam, you know, wants to have constructive relationships with China, but has probably a more sensitive position for historic terms. For the Philippines it's a little further away, but so it's not a looming sense. There's now and then discussions about energy resources and there's a clear recognition in this region and probably others that China's heavily focused on energy access, whether it's Canada, or Latin America, or Southeast Asia. And here, I think, as I tried to touch on in my comments, I think, I got a strong sense from the President that he believes Indonesia needs to reassume the role that it played with ASEAN in the past and that ASEAN needs to be a significant player in this process. But that doesn't mean a negative set of relationships. And I think it's not just related to China. People see the growing role of India. They see Japan has always had a significant presence. And so in that sense I think, and I get this from the people in the capitals, I think that they appreciate the outreach of the United States. Which will be followed up in the case of President Yudhoyono with a visit to talk to President Bush later this month. The Vietnamese were very pleased that they will have their first visit of the Prime Minister, since the normalization period, which I announced on June 21. So, I think the nice part of it is there is a connectivity here, if you will, of kind of my visit and discussions and then coming back and talking to higher level people.

QUESTION: What's the assessment in these capitals of China's mass military modernization?

QUESTION: A source of unease: Their very rapid military modernization. Is it a source of unease?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Did you pick that up? I didn't pick that up. So maybe, that wasn't raised with me. In this region in general, it's kind of more a holistic approach to China. I mean it's seen as China's sort of influence in multiple dimensions. But I will also mention that, you know, people see that China faces some huge challenges too. I mean, there's .China's not a free society. So, every problem in Indonesia gets reported. Every problem in China doesn't get reported. And so what you'll find in your different levels of conversation is that while there is this general sense of China's influence and growth, which is certainly part of it, you know some of the problems in terms of China's banking system, the rural-urban divide, you know, it's own demographic issues. It has some huge challenges ahead. So what I see is something that is a very traditional ASEAN outlook, which is that they don't want to be playing favorites on any side. They want to get good relations, but they want them in some balanced fashion among the players. And in that sense I think I did a get a feeling from every stop that the quick US reaction, demonstrated primarily through the US military initially in the aftermath of the tsunami, was extremely well received. I am sure that you've seen the polling statistics here about Indonesian attitudes. But it was the case in all the countries. People felt that that was a good example of kind of the role of the US military in humanitarian operations, but also they said this in different ways, but I referred this to the Washington press corps. There was an article that Greg Sheridan of The Australian wrote in the Wall Street Journal, and I think he wrote something in Australia or whatever, which captured the notion of an Indonesian in Aceh in the aftermath of the tsunami being on a beach and saying "Where is the United States?" And Sheridan picked this up and said, you know it's interesting. They weren't asking where is the UN, where's China? You know, it's, "Where is the United States?" Which in it, he picked up the theme that there's still a sense that when your back is to the wall, there's one power that really has that reach and dimension. And fortunately, we were able to respond. And part of what I am here about is to make sure that the response keeps coming. And part of what, you know, as I mentioned, I think it was very good that in the aftermath of the military, you know, that Secretary Powell came out with Governor Jeb Bush. I think it was an inspired idea to have President Bush 41 and Bill Clinton, President Clinton, come out. As I think I said, President Clinton called me right before I got on the plane so we talked about some of his follow-ups because I've known him before and he's going to be coming out to the region. So I think, you know, it's, all of you know you live out here, this is a region that sometimes feels that people may not pay enough attention relative to the bigger players. So to come out and be engaging on these issues I think is well received.

QUESTION: What's your with Aceh reconstruction, is it a big, what's your sense of how first of all the aid process, how well that works, and how well the process of transitioning to reconstruction has gone? If you go up to Aceh, if you go, not all of us have been up there, but at one point or another you can sit down and talk to Acehnese, who are getting very frustrated with the slow pace of the reconstruction. What's your reading on how that's going? The second question is how are you going to make sure that the $240 million road that you're building from Banda Aceh to Meulaboh doesn't turn into a $300 million road, a $350 million road as a result of mark-ups, corruption, the kinds of things in a normal infrastructure projects that have been common in development projects in the past few weeks?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well as for your first question, I would probably be better able to answer it better tomorrow. That's when I'll be going to those places. But I'll tell you what I've seen so far. I think this is not being critical of the press, it's just an observation. One of the things that. One of the roles, -- When the disaster first hit, there were a number of articles about the problems of hunger and disease, and the concerns about cholera or dysntery. The good thing is what hasn't happened, okay. That's not insubstantial. But you've seen it, I haven't. I've seen the pictures. The scope of the devastation. But the good news is on the humanitarian side, and here again, I think the U.S. Navy.. When I read the details about the number of helicopter sorties a day, 50 sorties a day, out to the villages, it's very important to provide. Now, then let's turn to the reconstruction side. And by the way, one of the things that I've learned from some of the discussions I've had is that we need to really think about how the humanitarian and the reconstruction transition works, because for example, I think it was the UNDP person today who was talking about the fact that we are probably going to need food aid in here for well over a year. And while some of the sanitation issues have been dealt with now, you know, that could be the purveyor of disease; you have to pay close attention to that as you move forward. So there's a series of interconnectivity issues here. On the reconstruction side, I think that the appointment of the new Minister Kuntoro, am I pronouncing that right? Kuntoro has come just in time. Because I pick up a sense that there are people who want to move on projects, and there's a sense that they, in the case that some governments that have given money but the Finance Ministry hasn't authorized it yet. Now, it goes back to your second question. In some ways, what you see here is the Indonesians being very careful that the money doesn't just seem as it's being misspent or not being connected to purposes. So in a sense they're trying to anticipate your auditing or inspector general concern. But nevertheless, again, as they move forward, and I'm hoping that it will be moving forward, and that's one of the reasons again that I'm out here and trying to sort of press that forward. But that will obviously be for the Indonesians to decide. So I think time will tell on the reconstruction projects. I mean, I've picked up the reports from the Embassy, I'm sure you have as well, that the people in Aceh are getting anxious. But, let me give an example of some of the other things I've been trying to get into Land tenure issues, okay, and obviously this is a problem all throughout Indonesia. But I had a very interesting discussion with Sri Mulyani today about how, given the role of Islamic law in Aceh, that there's places where both the land and the people were wiped out. Some people were wiped out; the land is there and then under Islamic law there's processes by which the community is supposed to divide it up or allocate it. But the community may not exist in the same form it did before. So, those are complicated issues that one has to try to address, but he can't get tied up in the knots, okay. And I think at least from everything that I've heard, Kuntoro is a very strong, dynamic individual. So it sounds like you've got the right person on these issues. So, I guess in sum, I can't say for sure whether the reconstruction process will move enough in a timely fashion. That's one of the reasons I come up here to talk to people and see how I can help. I've also tried to get a better sense of how some of the private-sector participants can engage, because this is a phenomenon where for all the government money, at least the numbers I've seen, you have about $1.2 billion of private sector donations. And we've got corporations that want to do different things. So how do you interconnect those effectively when some of the NGOs frankly are specializing in humanitarian, not reconstruction efforts. But I got some good news today about how the major ones of these will want to try to sort work with some of the other projects or donate to the different funds. So, you've got multiple, multiple dimensions working on this problem, but that's not surprising for a tragedy of this nature. Now as for your second question about how can you be sure what the cost of a project is

QUESTION: Or what are you doing to avoid corruption, the mark-ups, the

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, I mean, I'm less concerned about the U.S. Government on this, the U.S. Government, I mean, we have people here from AID, I mean, and a pretty good Director.

AMBASSADOR PASCOE: We have a very large program here and we have done it very tight, so I'm not worried about that.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah, I think the bigger concern that people are worried about is, you know, sort of the other project history on this. But when it's a big road project that you're running, I'm less concerned about that one than I would be about some of the more general sort of funding things where in this one, the money is going to get connected, the roads and bridges.

QUESTION: Are you going to be using American contractors, or is it, I mean, this is also a country where many of the contractors who have the capacity to do these things are tied to certain people in the government, or got there as a result of past ties, past governments?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I don't know about their country.

AMBASSADOR PASCOE: We will probably be using both U.S. and local, but again, we got a pretty strong record of the aid process, and this is money that we keep under our control. So, it's different.

Time for one more.

QUESTION: This government's been in power for six months now and it's talked itself up as being very pro-business, pro-investment. A lot of business people here will tell you there seems to be a lot of rhetoric and not a lot of action. I don't know, I'm just curious to see whether you've been trying to get home the message that maybe there's a window of opportunity here for this government to act and to make Indonesia more business-friendly?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yes, and I think that the point I've tried to make is, and again, I'm just trying to explain to you a little bit how I work in these things. This is a new government that took office and was subjected to an incredibly demanding situation. You understand the mixture of people. You've got some technocrats, you've got some business people, you've got others, different types here. What I've tried to encourage them to do is to take the positive momentum of the response of the tsunami on the humanitarian side, make sure it gets continued on the reconstruction side, and keep it going on the broader economic development side. Now, you could see how it could become a distraction, and obviously for someone like Sri Mulyani, she's been spending the last three months trying to put this process in place. But it's one of the reasons why in my conversation with her today we did talk about some of those other issues, and I wanted to keep in touch with her whether I see her in Washington on the 12th or by phone, because I've talked with her before, to try to see what we can try to do to help. And even those projects that we launched -- this is why I was trying to draw attention to them -- is that there's a lot of other things we need to do on the economic development side. Now, the Ambassador told me also that the American Chamber of Commerce has done some work trying to identify what they thought were some of the key areas that needed to be addressed, to try to make it a more business- and investment-friendly climate. I touched on some of those during the discussions. But I also tried to share with them the perspective that I've had, as someone who's traveled around the world and probably too many times over the past four years, and seen development in the context of globalization. Which is that you can't rest. As I said in Vietnam yesterday, you might have come a long way but you can't stop, because the process keeps going. Well, if you're Indonesia, you might get flattened by a tsunami but you've got to keep going, because the markets out there will look for places to invest, and they'll either pick China, or Latin America, or somewhere else if you want to remain attractive. So, part of what I try to do in these discussions, and it has a slightly different emphasis with different Ministers or the President, is to try to connect these pieces by also trying to connect this to the counterterrorism issue, because it might facilitate the process, if the government doesn't seem to be pretty tough on potential terrorism, that's going to increase the risk factor for people. I try to connect it to concepts like global sourcing, where I try to emphasize that it's not just a textile issue or Nike shoes issue, or something like that. It's a components for IT issue. This even relates to the corruption issues in a customs system. You know, when the ability to move goods in and out quickly, and one of the other things I try to talk about is how an open-services sector is actually vital because as the World Bank studies show, over 50% of developing countries' GDP is in the service sector. It's going to be very hard for a country to compete if it doesn't have efficient financial services, telecommunications, energy systems. So I'm trying to make the case for the benefits of the liberalization process for their own development and their own ability to compete with others. So, those are a part of the conversation and then to come back to I guess your key point I think it's too early to tell. I agree with you, I think, you know, you've got some good people in this government, they're saying the right things, they got hit with some pretty tough things early on. I am pleased that at least the Planning and the Trade Ministers, the two I've probably known the best, they recognize the issue. Tonight I'm going to be meeting the Economic Coordinating Minister and the Energy Minister. One of the other items, I forgot to mention, I'm sorry, is that the, we suggested that we sort of activate an energy dialogue that could relate to the integration of some of the investment climate issues to energy development, and that's an issue that the President also has an interest on, that's something I would kind of like to move forward and in the context of the Presidential visit. I kind of agree with the import of your question, and time will tell.

QUESTION: I just think it's too soon, too soon to say, and that window of opportunity is closing, or is closed.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I don't think the window of opportunity ever closes, I think the point that I've tried to emphasize is that do you, can you make the challenge of the post-tsunami into a political momentum that helps you keep moving the overall reform process? I think that's the best of all worlds, and that's where I'm trying to urge them and why we're trying to be supportive. Again, part of what I do on these visits is to get a sense of how they're responding, and then try to say here's ways we can help, whether it be the Timika investigation with the FBI, whether it be the reform of TNI in a democratic society, and then if you really want to interact effectively with people you've got to listen to them and then try to intersect all the news.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that, just one very specific question that's linked to this investment climate, that's Exxon-Mobil and the government Pertamina, the State oil company, began negotiations again last month of the Cepu oil fields, a dispute that's been out there a long time. At the time, people in the government were saying that they wanted to get this resolved before President Yudhoyono went to Washington at the end of May. Did that come up in discussions today, and did you get any indication from them on any progress towards these negotiations or did you give any message in regard to that?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I got a sense that the government did want to continue and I hope resolve it. In the exact time frame, I can't say for sure but I got a sense of timeliness on this as well. I refer to it in the same context in which we're talking, which is to say if you want to create an open investment climate and draw American business, you can't have sort of deals like this kind of fall off the table with a foreign company that doesn't operate in a transparent way, sort of makes it uncompetitive to play by the open market rules. But I think they've already drawn that conclusion themselves.

Thank you.


Released on May 7, 2005

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>



Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>