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Cablegate: Papua -- U.S. Representative's Visit

VZCZCXRO1898
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #3298/01 3371014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031014Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7243
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4551
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1683
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1475
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3585
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1231
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2100
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0485
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 003298

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/ANP, H, DRL/AWH
NSC FOR EPHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS EMIN ENRG ID
SUBJECT: PAPUA -- U.S. REPRESENTATIVE'S VISIT

REF: A. JAKARTA 3100

B. JAKARTA 3076
C. JAKARTA 3015

JAKARTA 00003298 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Congressman Faleomavaega--accompanied by
the Ambassador--visited Papua, November 26-28. He met a wide
range of government officials and civil society figures in
Biak and Manokwari, and toured U.S. firm Freeport's mining
operations in Timika. Faleomavaega voiced strong support for
Special Autonomy and for Papua Governor Suebu's development
plans. He also praised Freeport's efforts to train and
employ Papuans, and to minimize the environmental impact of
its operations. Press coverage of the visit noted that the
Congressman reiterated his support for President Yudhoyono's
commitment to the region. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) U.S. Representative Eni Faleomavaega (D American
Samoa) visited Biak (an island off Papua), Manokwari (the
capital of West Papua), and Timika (the center of
Freeport-McMoran's copper and gold mining operations). The
Congressman had requested permission to visit Papua from Nov.
26-30 but the Indonesian Government approved a visit from Nov
26-28. On security grounds, the GOI denied his request to
visit Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, and arranged
for Jayapura-based interlocutors to meet the Congressman in
Biak. (Note: December 1 is a politically sensitive day in
Papua and the GOI had security concerns about a visit during
this timeframe.) Ambassador Hume accompanied the Congressman
on the visit along with two Congressional staffers and two
DEPLU officials.

IN BIAK

4. (SBU) The Indonesian government arranged the visit to
Biak with security procedures similar to a presidential
visit, according to one DEPLU official. The Congressman's
delegation proceeded to a secluded government compound behind
several rings of security for a meeting with Papuan civil
society figures and legislators, chaired by Governor Barasbas
Suebu.

5. (SBU) Governor Suebu explained that while Special
Autonomy offered the best mechanism to resolve the "tug of
war between Jakarta and Papua," it has yet been fully
implemented. Money was not a problem as the central
government has transferred USD 2 billion to the provincial
government for FY 2007-8. The key challenges, according to
Suebu, remain increasing the capacity of the provincial
government to use that funding to implement the Governor's
development plans. Accounting, budgeting, and program
monitoring were areas where the provincial government needed
particular help.

6. (SBU) Congressman Faleomavaega stressed his deep personal
connection to Papua and explained that some of his ancestors
were Samoan missionaries who were buried in Papua. He agreed
that Special Autonomy was the best way forward and praised
President Yudhoyono's commitment to making it work. He also
urged support for Governor Suebu's efforts and said the USG
was looking for ways to support his administration. Special
Autonomy must, however, begin to show tangible results or
else support for the arrangement will wane, Faleomavaega
explained. Noting the role of Congress in appropriating
money for the USG, Faleomavaega pledged to look for ways to
support the Papuan provincial government. He pointed to
education as the highest priority and said it was the
"salvation of the Papuan people".

7. (SBU) Chairman of the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) Agus
Alua echoed similar themes, adding that the recent
Presidential Instruction on the accelerated economic
development of Papua provided more specific guidance on how
to generate economic benefits for the Papuan people. He also
stressed the need for the MRP--the one institution charged
with looking after the culture and welfare of the Papuan

JAKARTA 00003298 002.2 OF 003


people--to play a greater role in governing Papua.

8. (SBU) Amungme traditional leader Tom Beanal struck a
somewhat different note. (Note: The Amungme are the ethnic
group that dominate the area around Freeport's mining
operations.) He charged that the voice of the Papuan people
has never been heard: "We demanded independence and they
gave us Special Autonomy." Beanal called on the U.S., UN and
others to support Papuans' "desire for a new dialogue with
Jakarta." Faleomavaega responded that Papuans have had
opportunities to have their voice heard. He continued that
Papua now had a directly elected governor and an elected
legislature. Papuans, like other Indonesians, also had the
opportunity to choose their President through direct
election. These electoral leaders were moving forward with
Special Autonomy as a way to realize the aspirations of the
Papuan people.

9. (SBU) Following the official meeting, Faleomavaega met
with a crowd of approximately 150 ordinary Papuans. Wading
into the crowd, he was greeted with a traditional Papuan
ceremony and, together with a local minister, he led the
group in a brief prayer.

MANOKWARI STOP

10. (SBU) The team then proceeded to Manokwari. DEPLU
officials informed the delegation after arrival in the city,
the capital of West Papua Province, that Governor Abraham
Atururi was out of the country. The resulting abbreviated
meeting with the Vice Governor and other local officials
consisted of an overview of basic facts about the
province--demographics, geography and economics. There was
little opportunity for substantive exchange, especially given
the need to leave on schedule for a flight to Timika.

11. (SBU) Following the meeting, the delegation's motorcade
passed several hundred Papuan protesters at various locations
enroute to the airport. Many were carrying banners claiming
that Special Autonomy had failed and calling for a referendum
on Papua's status within Indonesia. Several protesters also
carried the "Morning Star" flag, a widely recognized symbol
of Papuan independence. The delegation encountered more
protesters at the airport and managed to depart just minutes
before protesters broke through a police line and surged onto
the runway, blocking planes from taking off. Based on
Mission's direct observations, Indonesian police at the scene
went out of their way to ensure that there was no violence
and we heard of no complaints of heavy-handedness by security
forces throughout the trip.

WITH FREEPORT

12. (SBU) After Manokwari, Faleomavaega's delegation toured
Freeport's operations in Timika. Freeport officials briefed
the Congressman on their efforts to recruit, train and employ
Papuans. This included a tour of the Nemangkawi Mining
Institute, a Freeport facility where several hundred Papuans
are enrolled in a three-year course teaching highly-skilled
mining and other business trades. Freeport officials also
provided an overview of its environmental programs, including
a tour of the mine tailings reclamation area. He also met
with a number of Freeport's senior Papuan employees.
However, bad weather prevented the delegation from visiting
the Grasberg mine in the highlands, as originally scheduled.

13. (SBU) In response to Freeport's briefing and tour, the
Congressman stated: "People in America don't know about all
the good you are doing. You have to do a better job telling
your story." He praised Freeport as the source of over USD 5
billion investment in Papua and the provider of over 18,000
jobs. He also noted the positive economic impact of
Freeport's operations, which he considered an excellent model
for how an American company can do business overseas.

14. (U) Congressman Faleomavaega gave us permission to send
this message. He said he did not need to clear on it.


JAKARTA 00003298 003.2 OF 003


HUME

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