Reportage of Obama and Gillard discussions on Papua at ASEAN, Bali

FYI -Media information only

Note: these items contain Contradictory reporting. Independent media is banned by Indonesia from attending  gatherings like ASEAN in Bali, and therefore West Papua Media cannot independently verify claims made by corporate mainstream media or US/Indo or Australian government activists as being factual and reflective of what was discussed during the summit.

1) Yudhoyono quizzes Gillard on US marines
2) Obama, Gillard assure SBY on Darwin plan, Papua
3) Indonesian president defends military in Papua
1) Yudhoyono quizzes Gillard on US marines

Daniel Flitton and Tom Allard, Nusa Dua, Indonesia

November 20, 2011

INDONESIA’S President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono quizzed Julia Gillard and Barack Obama over the new American ”base” in northern Australia but was assured that it posed no threat to Indonesia’s territorial integrity.

Dr Yudhoyono wrapped up the East Asia Summit last night and hailed the talks – which for the first time included the US and Russia along with regional giants China, India, and Japan – for tackling sensitive issues.

He told reporters last night that a joint Australia-Indonesia plan presented to the gathering for improving disaster readiness in the region had called for rapid deployment of emergency workers to save lives.

Asked if this would include a role for the 2500 US marines to be eventually stationed near Darwin, he said he would welcome the idea.

President Obama had raised the US presence in Australia during talks yesterday and said it would not unsettle the region, Dr Yudhoyono said.

Prime Minister Gillard also sought out Dr Yudhoyono to discuss the role of the American troops ahead of a formal meeting today.

”I’m happy they explained it to me personally,” the Indonesian leader said. ”On the establishment of that military base, it is not expected to change anything, it is not expected to distract or disturb neighbours … she [Ms Gillard] gave her guarantee.”

Indonesia has historically been highly sensitive to outside interference, and some Indonesian nationalists hold lingering suspicion about Australia after it led the peacekeeping mission to East Timor.

Indonesian military commander Agus Suhartono had also raised concerns that the training arrangement could result in Indonesia being dragged into a dispute involving the South China Sea.

Dr Yudhoyono said he had asked Mr Obama and Ms Gillard about their policy towards Indonesia in light of the new military arrangements and was happy to be told Australia and the US supported Indonesia’s territorial integrity.

Mr Obama also raised with Dr Yudhoyono the vexed issue of the restive region of West Papua, where there have been killings of independence activists in recent months and persistent allegations of human rights abuses by security forces.

Dr Yudhoyono said he told the US leader that Indonesian forces were conducting legitimate operations against an ”insurgency” and that Indonesian forces came under attack from separatists.

”If there are members who have violated the laws, gross violations of human rights, then they will go before the law,” he said.

”I told him personally, there is no impunity, no immunity.”

The Indonesian leader added that Mr Obama told him ”explicitly” that he respected Indonesia’s sovereignty over the territory, which was incorporated into Indonesia after a highly contested referendum in 1969 when 1025 hand-picked West Papuan delegates unanimously endorsed integration.
2) Obama, Gillard assure SBY on Darwin plan, Papua
Esther Samboh and Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali | Sun,

East Asian Summit (EAS) leaders wrapped up their meetings here on Saturday, with ASEAN member nations trying their best to remain united, despite conflicting interests between the US and China, both of which, in different ways, have reportedly threatened to divide the 10-member regional grouping.

There have been concerns that different stances on crucial issues, such as tensions in the South China Sea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, which some say have essentially divided the world into two sides — the US and China — would disrupt ASEAN’s ambitions towards forming an integrated and secure political, economic and socio-cultural community.

The US plan for a military base in Darwin, a city only 850-kilometers from Indonesia, has raised concerns from some ASEAN members, but perhaps most especially from China.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dismissed such concerns.

“Countries have economic interests or other interests — any country has its own national interests. But when we unite into a regional grouping, there are common interests,” Yudhoyono told a press briefing after the three-day ASEAN and East Asia Summit in Bali on Saturday.

“Whenever there are respective interests, we ensure that with this association we build a common interest pattern, instead of having a common platform or common interest. ASEAN could still maintain its centrality and we will play roles in the region’s cooperation.”

The planned military base in Darwin has raised fear it may spark new tension in the ASEAN territory.

Yudhoyono said Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard have “guaranteed” there are “no intentions” to disrupt neighboring countries. “Presumption and prejudice could disintegrate us all in the region,” Gillard said.

The EAS meeting was part of US President Barack Obama’s nine-day Asia-Pacific trip, in which he has focused on bulking up America’s presence in the region, including setting up the Darwin base. The Darwin plan has been largely viewed as a hedge against the rise of China’s economic and military prowess and a guarantee to US allies in the region that if China were to use force in settling South China Sea disputes, the world’s largest economy would stand ready to help.

Four ASEAN countries — Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei — have competing claims over areas in the South China Sea.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed China’s stance on the South China Sea issue but stressed the summit was not the right place to discuss such issues.

Obama held an impromptu meeting with Chinese Premier Wen on the summit’s sidelines Saturday to discuss the South China Sea and economic differences.

The US has planned to form a free trade alliance with its Pacific counterparts in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would exclude China but comprise four ASEAN countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam) as well as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Peru.

“We are ready to join the TPP. But as President, I chose to assess matters more deeply. If it brings benefits, we would say ‘we will join the TPP’,” Yudhoyono said.

3) Indonesian president defends military in Papua

JAKARTA | Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:00am EST

Nov 19 (Reuters) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono defended on Saturday the actions of its military in remote Papua province following accusations of human rights abuses and the recent killing of three people.

Three people were killed on Oct. 19 as police and military tried to disperse a political meeting in Abepura, a sub-district of Papua, a resource-rich yet underdeveloped province with a simmering separatist insurgency and heavy military presence.

The government’s national human rights commission found strong evidence of excessive acts that led to rights violations.

Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have called on U.S. President Barack Obama to address the issue when he met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bali during an East Asia Summit.

But Yudhoyono said on Saturday there was accountability and military personnel who committed crimes would be investigated.

“The world must know that in Papua there are armed cells who are launching attacks at us, including at an area of a firm there,” he said, referring to a mine run by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc where a worker was killed by gunmen on Thursday.

“When our soldiers are doing self-defense then it can’t be categorised as violating human rights.”

Yudhoyono said Papua was not specifically discussed during his meeting with Obama in Bali.


From: Socratez Yoman

24 October 2011

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today urged the Indonesian Government to take urgent steps to address the grievances of the Papuan people after tension escalated in West Papua last week.

On 19 October, the Indonesian military and police brutally suppressed a peaceful Papuan People’s Congress after delegates raised the Morning Star flag, a symbol of West Papua’s resistance to Indonesian rule, and declared independence. At least six Papuan people were killed and six have been charged with treason. Several hundred were initially arrested, although many have since been released.

According to media reports, the police and military fired shots into the air to disband the gathering, but some soldiers reportedly pointed weapons directly at people. Delegates were beaten by the police and soldiers with batons, bamboo poles and rifle butts. Security forces raided a nearby Catholic seminary and priests’ residence.

In a chilling warning, the police chief in Jayapura, Imam Setiawan, told the media, “Whoever supports separatism or subversion activity, I will do the same as yesterday. I’ll finish them.”

Rev Socratez Sofyan Yoman, Chairman of the Alliance of Papuan Baptist Churches, told CSW, “We call on the Indonesian authorities to open the door for peaceful dialogue between the Papuan representatives and the Indonesia Government. Dialogue must take place without preconditions and be mediated by  a neutral party. The Indonesian military and police must respect the Papuan people’s dignity and rights and stop the violations. As church leaders we strongly support genuine dialogue between the Indonesia Government and West Papuan leaders to solve West Papua’s problems.”

CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “It is overwhelmingly clear that the Indonesian military and police used disproportionate force against a peaceful gathering, flagrantly violating human rights and brutally beating and killing unarmed civilians. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Chairman of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and a member of the G20, Indonesia has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, protect human rights and respect international law. The tragic and bloody escalation in tensions serves as a wake-up call to Indonesia and the international community, that the grievances of the Papuan people must be addressed. Indonesia cannot continue to suppress the Papuan peoples’ freedom of expression as it did last week. Instead, a dialogue process is urgently needed, in which concerns about human rights, health care, education, development, environmental degradation and the impact of migration should be discussed, and Papua’s political future negotiated. We urge the Indonesian government to take the following steps to build confidence with the Papuan people, which has been further damaged by last week’s brutal crackdown: release all political prisoners, lift the ban on raising the Morning Star Flag, demilitarize Papua by reducing the military presence, and start to address the basic needs and rights of the Papuan people. The time for genuine dialogue is now.”

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email or visit

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is an organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

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