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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06JAKARTA4515
2006-04-07 11:17:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Jakarta
Cable title:  

AFTER ELECTIONS, PAPUAN LEADERS FOCUS ON FREEPORT

Tags:   PGOV  EINV  EMIN  ID 
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VZCZCXRO5704
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #4515/01 0971117
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071117Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2440
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9308
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY IMMEDIATE 3044
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 9726
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON IMMEDIATE 0746
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 004515 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2016
TAGS: PGOV EINV EMIN ID
SUBJECT: AFTER ELECTIONS, PAPUAN LEADERS FOCUS ON FREEPORT

REF: A. JAKARTA 3160 (PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS LIKELY TO
SEAL PARTITION OF PAPUA

B. JAKARTA 4407 (VOTE COUNTS FINAL IN PAPUAN
GUBERNATORIAL RACES)

C. JAKARTA 4035 (MORE ABEPURA AFTERMATH)

D. JAKARTA 3404 (ANTI-FREEPORT DEMONSTRATIONS
ESCALATE INTO VIOLENCE)

E. JAKARTA 3690 (FREEPORT SEES LOOSE-KNIT GROUP)

F. JAKARTA 2492 (FREEPORT CLOSED BY ILLEGAL WORKERS)

JAKARTA 00004515 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: B. Lynn Pascoe, Ambassador. Reason 1.4 (b, d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 004515

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2016
TAGS: PGOV EINV EMIN ID
SUBJECT: AFTER ELECTIONS, PAPUAN LEADERS FOCUS ON FREEPORT

REF: A. JAKARTA 3160 (PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS LIKELY TO
SEAL PARTITION OF PAPUA

B. JAKARTA 4407 (VOTE COUNTS FINAL IN PAPUAN
GUBERNATORIAL RACES)

C. JAKARTA 4035 (MORE ABEPURA AFTERMATH)

D. JAKARTA 3404 (ANTI-FREEPORT DEMONSTRATIONS
ESCALATE INTO VIOLENCE)

E. JAKARTA 3690 (FREEPORT SEES LOOSE-KNIT GROUP)

F. JAKARTA 2492 (FREEPORT CLOSED BY ILLEGAL WORKERS)

JAKARTA 00004515 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: B. Lynn Pascoe, Ambassador. Reason 1.4 (b, d)


1. (C) Summary: Following the March 10 and 11 elections in
Papua and West Irian Jaya provinces, Papuan leaders have
opted against staging a confrontation with the Indonesian
central government, at least for the time being. Instead, in
the wake of anti-Freeport demonstrations in Jayapura and
elsewhere, leaders of the Papuan Provincial Parliament and
Papuan People's Assembly are seeking to shore up their
popular credibility by focusing on the activities of the U.S.
mining giant. The Papuan People's Council has gone so far as
to call for the American mine's closure, but Freeport itself
dismisses this as hollow posturing. End summary.

Showdown With Jakarta Deferred
--------------


2. (SBU) Leaders of the Papuan Provincial Parliament (Dewan
Perwakilan Raykat Papua, DPRP) and Papuan People's Council
(Majles Rakyat Papua, MRP) were angered by the central
government's March 2 decision to proceed with direct
elections in West Irian Jaya province (ref A). They
correctly saw this step as consolidating the partition of the
territory of Papua (the former Irian Jaya) into two
provinces, contrary to the wishes of most indigenous Papuans
and the terms of an accord on this long-simmering issue
brokered by Vice President Kalla last November.


3. (C) Pastor Phil Erari, who is close to the MRP, a body
formed under the 2001 Special Autonomy Law to protect the
interests of indigenous Papuans, had told us in mid-March
that the MRP was discussing next steps with the DPRP. One

option, Erari said, would be for the two bodies to escalate
the dispute with the central government by formally
repudiating the Special Autonomy Law and announcing some kind
a referendum on the status of Papua within Indonesia.


4. (C) This course of action would have been enormously
provocative to Jakarta, but is apparently off the table for
now. MRP and DPRP leaders have realized that repudiating --
or "returning" -- the Special Autonomy law would be a dead
end, significant only in terms of political symbolism and
with little practical impact. The acting Speaker of the
DPRD, Komaruddin Watabun, told poloff in a March 30 meeting
in Jayapura that instead of repudiating Special Autonomy
outright, the DPRD and MRP would invite academic experts to
hold a seminar examining the question of whether the West
Irian Jaya elections were legally compatible with Special
Autonomy. Legal opinions from this seminar, he said, would
be forwarded to the National Parliament (DPR) with
recommendations. Governor-elect Bas Suebu told poloff March
31 that "rejecting" Special Autonomy was impossible because
it would imply cutting off revenues that are returned to
Papua under its provisions. The heads of Papua's twenty
regencies - the primary beneficiaries of Special Autonomy
funds - would never stand for this, he pointed out. MRP
Chairman Agus Alua told poloff March 31 that he supported
this approach, and that a round of consultations with
community leaders was necessary before deciding what should
be done next. The matter should wait, he said, until the new
governor of Papua was sworn in late April or early May. The
MRP was also working with the legal aid foundation PBHI, Alua
said, to determine whether it had standing for seeking
redress through the courts.


5. (C) Nevertheless, the MRP and DPRP lost face as a result
of their inability to stop the West Irian Jaya election or
even to channel public opinion on the issue. The MRP's call
for a boycott was largely ignored (reftel B para 4), and the
MRP was snubbed by Cabinet-level delegations to Jayapura on
March 17 (reftel C paras 8-9) and March 28. (During the March
28 visit, which like the first only lasted a few hours, the
Cabinet members did deign to chat with Papuan religious and
DPRP leaders over lunch.)


JAKARTA 00004515 002.2 OF 003


Jumping On Anti-Freeport Bandwagon
--------------


6. (C) The MRP and, to a lesser extent, the DPRP then sought
to recover credibility by bashing Freeport, the New
Orleans-based company operating a vast gold and copper mine
near Timika, Papua. Since February, a dispute between the
mine and locals over illegal prospecting has sparked
protests, some of them violent and resulting in arrests, in
Papua and elsewhere in Indonesia (refs D - F). Last
February, the DPRP leadership sent a letter to Freeport
urging the mine to stop operations temporarily.


7. (SBU) In early March, the DPRP and MRP attempted
unsuccessfully to mediate between Freeport and the illegal
prospectors. While the DPRP pulled out of the effort
following the attack on the Timika Sheraton Hotel on March
14, the MRP leadership was still there when, on the other
side of the province, the violent anti-Freeport demonstration
erupted in Abepura March 15-16, eventually claiming five
lives.


8. (SBU) The MRP was not in session during the Abepura
protest, and its members were scattered across the province.
Despite the anti-Freeport demonstration's violent outcome,
however, the MRP realized that its organizers had
successfully mobilized hundreds of participants, and it
belatedly sought to get some political mileage out of the
issue. After deliberating on the matter during the week of
March 27 - 31, the MRP made four recommendations to the DPRP,
as follows:

--The GOI should negotiate with the USG and Freeport to close
the mine.

--If the above objective is not possible, the GOI should
press Freeport to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with
seven local tribes to protect their traditional rights.

--A third "neutral" party should mediate negotiation of the
MOU to ensure good-faith protection of the Papuan tribes'
rights.

--The resulting MOU should take into account recommendations
of the MRP.


10. (SBU) In remarks to the press, Alua criticized Freeport's
reliance on the Indonesian military (TNI) for security, and
urged the company to develop a "community-based" security
strategy.


11. (C) Other Papuan leaders, while critical of Freeport,
stopped short of calling for its closure. DPRP Deputy
Speaker Komaraddin Watabun stressed to poloff on March 30
that while Freeport's way of operating must change, he was
aware that the company's status in Indonesia was governed by
a legally-binding agreement with the GOI. Similarly,
governor-elect Bas Suebu told poloff March 31 that while he
felt that the Freeport situation was "a ticking time bomb,"
it was neither desirable nor realistic to seek its closure.
He also believed that the company's policies and approach had
improved over time.


12. (C) Freeport is not overly concerned by the uptick in
scrutiny and criticism. Anti-Freeport criticism is perennial
and cyclical, and the company is more preoccupied with
resolving the illegal mining dispute at Mile 72 and keeping
relations with the central government on track (refs D - F).
Freeport Vice President Dan Bowman (protect) told poloff
April 7 that company representatives had met with DPRP and
MRP representatives in Bali during the week of April 3 - 7.
The meeting was amicable. The DPRP representatives had said
that they had "no problem" with Freeport, and the MRP backed
away from their initial hard-line stance, and requested more
information.

Comment
--------------


13. (C) The MRP cannot get much traction out of the Freeport
issue. Its call for the mine to be closed was a half-hearted
attempt to pander to more hard-line elements that have staged
demonstrations in past weeks. The MRP basically accepts the
fact that although Freeport's presence in Papua is
problematic in terms of environmental impact and its

JAKARTA 00004515 003.2 OF 003


relations with the TNI, it generates revenue and creates jobs
in the province. Indeed, a large portion of the taxes that
Freeport pays to the central government is returned to the
province under the same Special Autonomy Law that created the
MRP. The MRP's real challenge is restoring its credibility
and finding a role following the political setbacks that it
has been dealt so far this year.
PASCOE