Wednesday, 1 October 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): On a number of occasions this year, I have set out the Government's position with reference to the situation in Papua. As I have stated previously, the question of a review of the UN's conduct in relation to the Act of Free Choice in Papua, would require the support of UN member states. Inquiries made at my request by our permanent representative to the UN confirm that at present, there is no significant support for such an initiative. There is, moreover, concern that such an approach might prejudice ongoing efforts to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Government in Jakarta, and would not contribute to the amelioration of the current situation of the Papuan people.
At the April meeting of the EU External Relations Council, Ireland, together with our EU colleagues, adopted revised Council conclusions on Indonesia. These conclusions emphasised the importance of actively promoting peaceful solutions to the internal conflicts in Indonesia, including that of Papua. I met the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Mr. Wirajuda, at the EU-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting at Brussels, in January 2003, and raised issues of particular concern, including the situation in Papua. My colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Kitt, also met Mr. Wirajuda at the ASEM foreign ministers' meeting, which Minister Wirajuda hosted, in July 2003, and reiterated these concerns.
Officials of my Department also raised these concerns when they met with their Indonesian counterparts at the ASEM senior officials meeting held in Jakarta on 12 and 13 May 2003 and again at the senior officials meeting on 21 and 22 July 2003, which preceded the ASEM foreign ministers' meeting. Officials of my Department also meet regularly with representatives of the West Papua Action Group. Most recently, on 12 September 2003, they met Mr. Aloysius Renwarin, director of ELSHAM, and were briefed by him on the situation in Papua.
The Government continues to monitor the situation closely, and will continue to encourage the authorities in Indonesia to act with full regard to the interests of the people of Papua. In this regard, I welcome the decision in August of the Indonesian government to suspend the implementation of the presidential decree dividing Papua into three provinces.
Ireland, together with our EU partners, will continue to support the development of a strengthened and candid dialogue and partnership between the EU and Indonesia. The Government sees this as the most effective framework at this time for addressing our serious concerns about the situation in Papua.
|Last Updated: 10/09/2010 08:52:54||Page of 183|