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Cablegate: Papua -- Ambassador Visits Key Sites in Turbulent

VZCZCXRO0203
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #3100/01 3111100
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071100Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6965
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1515
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 3537
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1079
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1982
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 003100

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/ANP, DRL/AWH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS EMIN ENRG ID
SUBJECT: PAPUA -- AMBASSADOR VISITS KEY SITES IN TURBULENT
REGION

REF: A. JAKARTA 3076
B. JAKARTA 3015
C. JAKARTA 2930

JAKARTA 00003100 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) This message is Sensitive But Unclassified--Please
handle accordingly. Not for distribution outside of USG
channels.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Ambassador Hume discussed economic
development, health, human rights and other concerns with key
government and civil society interlocutors on a November 1-5
visit to Papua. He also toured BP's Tangguh liquid natural
gas (LNG) project, currently under construction on Bintuni
Bay in West Papua. Unrest in Timika in south-central Papua
restricted the Ambassador's visit to U.S. firm
Freeport-McMoRan's mining operation to observe corporate
social responsibility activities. END SUMMARY

JAYAPURA: DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

3. (SBU) In a November 2 meeting with Vice Governor Alex
Hesegem in the provincial capital Jayapura, Ambassador noted
the USG's interest in Papua and asked about progress on
implementing the provincial government's development agenda.
(Note: Governor Barnabas Suebu was traveling in China.)
Hesegem explained that Papua remained one of Indonesia's
poorest provinces and faced myriad development challenges,
including housing, nutrition, education, infrastructure,
HIV/AIDS, and unemployment. Papua's problem was not money:
funds transferred to the provincial government under Special
Autonomy as well as money provided to local NGOs through
Freeport's One Percent Fund remained unspent. The problem,
according to Hesegem, was that the government lacked the
capacity to use the funds to implement development programs
and NGOs could not agree on how to spend Freeport's
contributions.

4. (SBU) Examining one of Papua's most critical health
crises, the Ambassador visited a USAID-supported HIV/AIDS
clinic on November 2. The clinic serves an area of
approximately 31,000 people and sees between 2,000 and 2,500
patients per month. At 2.5 percent, the HIV/AIDS infection
rate in Papua far exceeds the Indonesian national rate of
less than 0.1 percent. The Ambassador observed that Papua
was at a critical tipping point where effective prevention
could slow the infection's growth rate. Inadequate
preventative measures, however, could result in an expansion
of HIV/AIDS infections in the province. Clinic staff agreed
that prevention was critical and outlined their campaign of
testing, counseling and distribution of condoms.

MIXED VIEWS ON SPECIAL AUTONOMY

5. (SBU) Members of the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) gave
the Ambassador a mixed picture of the relationship between
the province and the central government in the context of the
2001 Special Autonomy Law. MRP members viewed Special
Autonomy as a "victory" for Papuans. However, they expressed
frustration that the central government had yet to issue all
the regulations necessary for the provincial government to
take up its new responsibilities. The root of the problem,
according to MRP interlocutors, was a lack of trust between
Jakarta and Jayapura. They stressed that the MRP was firmly
committed to making Special Autonomy work and was "not
interested in the separatist route."

6. (SBU) The Ambassador suggested that the problem might be
more a case of Jakarta's distraction from its Papua Special
Autonomy agenda by other priorities, rather than Jakarta's
opposition to it. He stressed that Papua and Jakarta must
show strong leadership in order to push the implementation of
Special Autonomy forward. The USG, he noted, could provide
capacity-building assistance to the provincial government.
It was up to Indonesians--in Papua, in Jakarta and
elsewhere--to make Special Autonomy succeed.

7. (SBU) Representatives of several key civil society
organizations raised a variety of concerns, including a lack
of trust between Papuans and the security forces. They could
not, however, point to specific instances of security force

JAKARTA 00003100 002.2 OF 003


violence against Papuans, and vaguely invoked fears and
threats. They agreed that Governor Suebu's frequent trips to
villages was important because it gave Papuans direct access
to their elected leaders and helped build trust between the
people and the government.

TIMIKA--UNREST PERSISTS

8. (SBU) Unrest in Timika, sparked by the suspicious death
of a tribal elder, who was also a retired police officer,
prevented the Ambassador's planned November 3 visit to key
sites around the city (Ref A). These included the Mitra
Masyarakat Hospital, a 101-bed hospital that Freeport-McMoRan
built to support the local community; the Nemangkawi Mining
Institute, where Freeport provides training to Papuans; and
Kokanau, where a Freeport-USAID partnership project assists
local fishermen. Although the rioters did not target these
sites or other Freeport facilities, the general lack of
security throughout the town prompted the change in the
Ambassador's program.

9. (SBU) The situation revealed weaknesses in Papua's
security services. Lacking training and equipment to deal
with a riot, the local police were unable to handle the
situation. Many officers fled their posts and went into
hiding once the conflagration began. Lack of efficient
coordination between the police and the military (TNI),
combined with the TNI's reluctance to be undertake riot
control--largely because of a fear of possible allegations of
human-rights violations--delayed the deployment of
reinforcements. As a result, the violence continued until
the police acceded to the rioters' demands.

HIGHLANDS--UNREST PERSISTS

10. (SBU) On November 4 the Ambassador proceeded to the
Papuan highlands, where he got a firsthand glimpse of the
ongoing tribal conflict in the village of Banti, located
approximately eight miles from Freeport's Grasberg mine (ref
C). A helicopter tour of the area revealed some of the
population pressures that have triggered the tensions. The
town's original inhabitants are approximately 1000 members of
the Amungme tribe who live in houses that Freeport
constructed to compensate them for traditional lands lost as
a result of the mine's establishment. Among these are
several hundred makeshift dwellings constructed by members of
the Dani tribe who have recently come to the area to conduct
illegal gold panning operations in the mine tailings. The
influx of migrants has exacerbated tensions between the two
groups as they compete over the scarce resources of the
rugged Papuan highlands. Later, the Ambassador toured the
Freeport-run Tembagapura hospital, which treats both Freeport
employees and people from nearby villages. (Note:
Tembagapura is the "company town" in the highlands that
supports Freeport operations and houses most of the mine
employees.) Several local villagers were being treated for
arrow wounds sustained in tribal violence which had already
left eight people dead.

VIST TO BP PROJECT

11. (SBU) The Ambassador concluded his visit with a November
5 tour of BP's Tangguh LNG site and surrounding communities.
BP officials told the Ambassador they expected gas to begin
flowing from the 14.4 trillion cubic feet of proven reserves
in late 2008, with deliveries to customers in China, South
Korea, and the United States in 2009. The project, still in
the construction phase, employs approximately 10,000 workers,
30 percent of whom are Papuan.

12. (SBU) The major social challenges continue to revolve
around delivering concrete benefits to the local communities
around the project without creating a culture of dependency,
said BP officials. BP continues to try to restore social
peace among effected communities after its ill-advised
decision to relocate one village and rebuild it on a grand
and comparatively lavish scale. The neighboring villagers
are envious and openly resentful of the largesse bestowed
upon the relocated villagers of Tanah Merah. The Ambassador
toured the neighboring village of Saengga, which displayed

JAKARTA 00003100 003.2 OF 003


few of the modern conveniences of Tanah Merah. Some
villagers did have satellite television, and there were some
modest, new houses with glass windows built by locals who had
found construction work at the LNG site, according to BP
officials. BP said its near-term social priorities were
based on community feedback and would focus on clean water,
health, and education projects.

HUME

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