Subject: Susilo warns U.S. not to interfere in Papua

The Jakarta Post Saturday, July 30, 2005

Susilo warns U.S. not to interfere in Papua

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Shenzen, China

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned the U.S. not to interfere in Indonesia's domestic affairs after the U.S. House of Representatives recently approved a bill that questions the status of Papua.

Speaking to reporters on Friday during a visit to Shenzen, China, Susilo said such intervention could affect relations between the two countries, which have begun to improve since his election last year and a visit to Washington in May.

"I am concerned (by the bill) ... this (the Papua issue) is Indonesia's domestic affair.

"I call on all friendly states and the United Nations to respect Indonesia's territorial integrity and let us solve our own problems," he said.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved a bill on Papua which if passed into law could increase international pressure for the Indonesian government to allow the people of the resource-rich Papua to vote whether to remain a part of Indonesia or become an independent nation.

Section 1115 of Bill No. 2061 especially questions the Act of Free Choice Indonesia held in 1969, when selected Papuan elders voted unanimously to join Indonesia "in circumstances that were subject to both overt and covert forms of manipulation", according to the bill.

The bill asks the U.S. secretary of state to file a report analyzing the 1969 Act of Free Choice within 180 days after the enactment of the bill.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Yuri Thamrin said in Jakarta on Friday the government would use all diplomatic avenues to block the act.

Yuri said he was confident Indonesia had room to maneuver diplomatically to block any potential negative impacts from the bill.

The bill is one of four bills approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, all of which concern financial aid to foreign militaries, including the Indonesia Military. In the U.S., bills must be approved by the Congress and the President before becoming law.

"This bill is interesting because some of the clauses that are very critical toward Papua were amended. This is our main concern," Yuri said.

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