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Radio Australia Asia Pacific August 22, 2001 Melbourne, Australia

The official communiqué from the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Nauru has welcomed Jakarta's moves to grant special autonomy to Irian Jaya or West Papua, and expressed "continuing concern" at violence in the province.

But not all Pacific leaders are happy with the wording, with one saying it had been watered down.

The Minister for Accelerated Development in Eastern Indonesia, Manuel Kaisiepo, led the Indonesian delegation, which included West Papuan officials. They claimed there are no longer any human rights problems in West Papua.

Radio Australia correspondent Dorney reports.

Indonesia's delegation to the post-Forum dialogue was led by a West Papuan, Manuel Kaisiepo, the State Minister for Accelerated Development in Eastern Indonesia. Also along was another West Papuan, Banabas Tuebo, a former governor of Irian Jaya.

However, when we sought an interview with them we were initially told they had another meeting to go to. Eventually it was not either of the two prominent West Papuans in the Indonesian delegation who came to speak to us, but three other officials.

The Director of Asian and Pacific Affairs with Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Department, Yusbar Djamil, spoke about the initiative to open an embassy in Suva.

DJAMIL: A delegation will be dispatched from Jakarta to Suva very soon. We expect that to happen in early September at the latest.

DORNEY: The Forum leaders meeting adopted a communiqué that refers to their concerns about human rights in West Papua and it says that the Forum will continue to keep a watch on what is going on. In the post-Forum dialogue what was said about the issue?

[At this point the two senior Indonesian officials asked the West Papuan Philamanaro Buya to speak.]

BUYA: You see I think the issue of human rights, it's a general issue and it's not only happening in Indonesia, basically not only happening in Irian Jaya. So let the government bring the message to solve these problems, and what is positive now with our new government . . . I mean with the President Megawati, she has decided that she will have more attention on this issue in Irian Jaya.

So I think it's not difficult for the government to solve the problem, and I know that there is a concern from the Forum about this program, but again I said that I hope it will be all right.

You know, like now, there is an offer from government to the province of Irian Jaya with their policy of special autonomy. So it's going to be all right.

DORNEY: The wording on the final communiqué on the West Papuan issue was --to quote the President of Kiribati -- "more gentle than the leaders actually agreed to at their retreat last Friday." They'd agreed to suggest to Indonesia that comprehensive autonomy might be the path to peace.

But the final wording was to welcome Indonesian introduction to parliament of special autonomy.

President Teburoro Tito of Kiribati said there was a maneuver at the final session of the Forum that resulted in the weaker wording.

TITO: The new wording now seems to take away that light at the end of the tunnel or make the light at the tunnel a bit weaker.

DORNEY: The Indonesian delegation claimed that human rights violations were a thing of the past in Irian Jaya. They stated that there had been no incidents in the past six months and they said troubles along the border with Papua New Guinea were simply a result of misinformation being spread amongst the people.

DJAMIL: Irian Jaya is a country where the governor, where the government, with their own legislative assembly and Irian Jaya send their people also to sit in the parliament at the center of power. Dialogue is always a part of the government line, not as it appears in the newsstand. It seems that they lie and . . .human rights is highly respected in the country."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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