Indonesia Declares ‘Diplomatic Victory’ Over Vanuatu

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Indonesia Declares ‘Diplomatic Victory’ Over Vanuatu Minister claims Vanuatu changed position on West Papua

By Winston Tarere

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 7, 2012) – Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Marty Natalegawa has claimed a political and diplomatic victory over the people of Vanuatu and their unwavering stand on independence for West Papua.

"Vanuatu has changed its position and now supports special autonomy in Papua," foreign minister Marty Natalegawa told the Indonesian House of Representatives.

The Jakarta Globe quoted minister Natalegawa on the 1st of June as saying: "Indonesian diplomacy to allay international concerns about its policy of special autonomy for the province of Papua is slowly bearing fruit…several countries had softened their stance on the policy, including Pacific island nations such as Vanuatu that have traditionally been opposed to Indonesia’s administration of Papua."

This diplomatic victory is the brain child of Prime Minister Sato Kilman who views closer economic relations with Indonesia as the only way to achieve freedom for West Papua.

The recent signing of the cooperation agreement with Indonesia has gagged Vanuatu’s voice of freedom to conform to United Nation’s diplomatic protocol and respect of Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua.

It also comes as a special victory for Prime Minister Kilman’s regime, which views Vanuatu’s former position – instituted by its father of independence – first and former Prime Minister Fr Lini as a fruitless sacrifice that has come at the great cost of closer economic relations and Indonesian aid.

There is concern that this policy shift reflects this government’s ethical position which values computers, tractors, electronic equipment and paramilitary training to suppress the freedom and the democratic rights of individuals to protest against the exploitation and inhumane treatment of Melanesians in West Papua; and to snuff out the flame, hope and aspirations of West Papuans to exercise their God-given right to rule and decide on their own destinies.

Concern has also been raised that the Government’s new position implicates the people of Vanuatu in the international conspiracy to continually oppress the West Papuans so that they can have a share in the huge profits being mined from the mountains and the seabed of West Papua.

Government is acting in defiance of a parliamentary act of law – mandating the government to sponsor independence for West Papua – to recognize Jakarta’s rule through special autonomy over independence of the Melanesian people of West Papua.

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