GOVERNMENT ADAMANT IRIAN JAYA WILL REMAIN IN INDONESIA

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (June 6, 2000 – Jakarta Post/Kabar Irian)---President Abdurrahman Wahid renewed on Monday his tough warning to pro-independence supporters in Irian Jaya, saying he would do his best to keep Indonesia's sovereignty over the easternmost province intact.

Speaking in a regular media conference at Bina Graha Presidential Palace, Abdurrahman said the government would maintain security and public order in the natural resource rich territory following the Papuan Congress, which wound up on Sunday with participants declaring their support for independence.

The President said the majority of the Papuan people actually opted to remain part of Indonesia, but they were not allowed to attend the congress by the rebellious minority.

He condemned pro-independence people for intimidating pro-Indonesian people by barring them from entering the congress venue.

Abdurrahman said that although the government would not risk losing Indonesia's sovereignty, it would not violate human rights in upholding the law in the province.

"But besides that, we will also do our outmost to maintain order, in the sense that the police, if necessary, assisted by the military, will take actions to maintain the security of the area and the province.

"If that means doing something to people without violating human rights then they (security forces) will do that," Abdurrahman said.

The President also pointed out that he had ordered Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab to summon foreign ambassadors in Jakarta and told them about the diplomatic consequences the countries would face from Indonesia if they did something against the country's sovereignty.

"The countries have assured that they honor Indonesia's territorial integrity including on Irian Jaya. Therefore they will not take any action to acknowledge a free Papua," the President said.

Without disclosing the amount, Abdurrahman also confirmed that he had provided financial assistance for the congress.

He said the congress leaders agreed with his condition that pro-Indonesian people would also be allowed to attend and that no foreigners would be given access to the congress.

"There is money from the private sector which was channeled through me. The fund was then used to finance the congress," the President remarked.

Then acting state secretary Bondan Gunawan said last month, Abdurrahman had donated Rp 1 billion (US$ 118,203) to finance the congress.

Meanwhile, National Police Chief Gen. Rusdihardjo said police would remain vigilant as to how things develop in the province. He pledged that police personnel would not treat Papuans as their enemies but as compatriots.

"We need to maintain our cool; they are all our brothers," Rusdihardjo said.

State Minister of Human Rights Affairs Hasballah M. Saad said the government would summon the organizing committee of the congress to Jakarta to brief them on the government's stance on the congress.

"We, under the coordinating minister for political affairs and security, will ask them about their demands and why the congress went beyond their commitment to the government," Hasballah told reporters on Monday.

Separately, the United States Embassy in Jakarta, issued a statement on Monday, reiterating the country's support over Indonesia's sovereignty on Irian Jaya.

The embassy confirmed it sent its diplomat as an observer to the congress, but emphasized it was in accordance with normal practices.

"The United States Government strongly supports the territorial integrity of Indonesia. The U.S. does not support independence for Papua or any other part of Indonesia," the statement said.

A U.S. subsidiary company, copper and gold miner PT Freeport Indonesia, is operating in the rich oil and mineral resourced province.

In the provincial capital Jayapura, a sea of people celebrated the independence declaration with Yosim Pancar dances and the performance of local music groups in an all night party on Sunday. The celebration took place in the congress venue, the GOR Sports Hall, and the Irian Jaya Arts Council building.

In Wamena subdistrict, Jayapura, a group from the Papua Task Force burned down five houses after a brawl with some drunken villagers. The villagers stabbed one of the militia members.

According to Antara, the villagers were upset because the task force had forced Deky Naray to lend his car to be used during the congress.

Meanwhile, military and police provided several trucks, warships and planes to send home the congress participants.

"It is merely a humanitarian assistance," acting Irian Jaya Governor Musiran said.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") Website: http://www.irja.org/ 

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