U.S. HOUSE DROPS CALLS TO SCRUTINIZE PAPUA ISSUES

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Concerns effort may affect Indonesia elections

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 23, 2009) – American Samoa’s US Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he drove moves to drop provisions on Indonesia’s Papua from a Foreign Relations Bill in the US House of Representatives.

The bill initially contained a section calling on the State Department to report on the current political status of Papua, looking at the UN-sanctioned 1969 Act of Free Choice, under which Papua was incorporated into Indonesia.

The Department was also called on to examine Special Autonomy and human rights abuses in Papua.

The provisions had been recommended by the House Foreign Affairs Committee of which Faleomavaega is a key member.

But they decided to scrap the provisions to avoid disrupting the upcoming Indonesian Presidential election.

The congressman denied that West Papua is an issue that the House is going to forget about:

"No absolutely not and I just felt that this is not the time," Faleomavaega said "We just want to wait until the elections are over and whoever is the new leadership, whoever becomes President of Indonesia , and then we will just continue the consultations and hopefully, this time, I will have a better opportunity to actually visit West Papua as has been promised me... for two years."

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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