US Considers Papua Integral Part of Indonesia

Joe Yan, deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of State, said Papua is an integral part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI), according to Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patti Djalal.

"The US position is recognizing Papua as an integral part of NKRI and hopes that the special autonomy status (for Papua) could be fully implemented soon," Ambassador Dino Djalal said here Thursday.

The ambassador made the statement during a press conference by Vice President Boediono for Indonesian media. Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, Chairman of the National Investment Coordinating Board Gita Wirjawan and Head of the Development Control and Supervision Working Unit Kuntoro Mangkusubroto were also present in the press conference.

The US government had made the confirmation as the country was always following the developments in Papua and West Papua, including reports on alleged human rights violation in the region. A similar statement was also made by Robert Scher, deputy assistant of the US Secretary of Defense.

According to Dino, Scher acknowledged the significance of the Indonesia-US bilateral relations for Indonesia, the world’s third largest democratic country, had carried out reform process in the defense sector and the military professionalism.

"The US government is convinced about the Indonesian government’s seriousness in reforming the Indonesian Defense Force (TNI) organization to become a professional military organization. The inclusion of human rights in the curricula of the TNI education is a concrete proof of the reform process," the ambassador said.

The US government’s statements were made following a hearing on Papua at the US Congress on September 2, 2010, at the initiative of Eni Faleomavaega, chairman of the Sub Committee on Asia, the Pacific, and Global Environment, from the Democrat Party. Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal believed that the Papua issue would not affect the Indonesia-US bilateral relations.