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Indonesia, Papua, Vanuatu

Papua policy not contrary to Indonesia’s push for transparency, democratisation says Natalegawa


Indonesia’s Foreign Minister says Papua is becoming less an international issue than it once was, and that many countries that once raised the issue no longer do so.

Natalegawa says when the issue of Papua and West Papua is raised in an international context now, it is often on Indonesia’s own initiative.

In the Pacific, Vanuatu, once a strong supporter of West Papuan independence, has considerably weakened its position. Prime Minister Sato Kilman, who survived a no confidence vote this week, has strengthened ties with Jakarta, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group has admitted Indonesia as an official observer.

Natalegawa defended his government’s screening of journalists going to Papua, claiming it was for security reasons, rather than concern about what they would report. While a number of travel journalists have been permitted to visit Papua this year,  news journalists continue to have their applications rejected.

Natalegawa says he believe access should be open, “that [should be} the new norm, unless the situation requires otherwise.”

He rejected suggestions that Indonesia’s committment to democracy and transparency should be judged on its closing of Papua’s borders to the world.

“I don’t want this issue to overshadow efforts to move from a security approach to a prosperity approach [in Papua],” he said.

Seeking influence

Indonesia has sought to increase its international influence in recent years.  It assumes chairmanship of APEC in 2013. Natalegawa says their priority will be promoting Asian economic resilience as an engine of global economic growth.

Natalegawa also talked of continuing tensions in North Africa and the Middle East. He says while developments in Libya, Syria and other states of that region may seem far from Indonesia’s interests, Indonesia believes it is important to support emerging democracies and to prove that Islam and modernity and democracy “can go hand in hand.”

Indonesia has also championed the ASEAN code of conduct. Naga calls it a “genie out the bottle,” and says they can only hope China and ASEAN will work collectively on the code of conduct.

Naga says as an “imperfect democracy”, Indonesia can share real lessons with other emerging democracies.

“In Indonesia most of the lessons learned are not necessarily the successes but the challenges….We’re  not trying to pontificate [but] because of that our lessons learned are more relevant.”


About Samantha Magick

Journalist and editor


3 thoughts on “Papua policy not contrary to Indonesia’s push for transparency, democratisation says Natalegawa

  1. Dear Samantha, Thanks, I find these very useful.

    Will William P. Tuchrello Field Director – Attach Library of Congress – Southeast Asia Region American Embassy – Jakarta


    Posted by William P. Tuchrello | December 12, 2012, 3:18 am


  1. Pingback: Papua policy not contrary to Indonesia’s push for transparency, democratisation says Natalegawa | tabloidjubi.com - December 11, 2012

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