4) Freeport Indonesia union says mine shut but maintenance under way
The Australia–Indonesia relationship is headed in a broadly positive direction, with the potential for defence and security cooperation to grow. But people-to-people and economic links are surprisingly limited and more needs to be done to build ballast into a relationship often at risk due to misperceptions. These are our personal conclusions after ASPI’s inaugural ‘Australia–Indonesia Next Generation Defence & Security Forum’ in Sydney, 14 to 16 May. With the support of the Department of Defence, we brought together 20 Australian and Indonesian participants from the military, academia, government departments and think tanks for two days of 1.5 track discussion on pressing defence and strategic issues. To encourage frankness, the meeting was held under the Chatham House Rule, so we won’t attribute comments to individuals, rather we’ll offer our own impressions of the meeting.
There were several key themes that emerged from the presentations and discussion. For one, maps made an appearance in several instances—a salient reminder that geography is one of the key forces that necessitates greater Indonesia–Australia cooperation. Some presenters used maps to articulate an Indonesian perspective of our strategic environment and its security challenges. In one case, the visual representation of Indonesia’s archipelagic sea-lanes and their vulnerability to foreign vessels highlighted Indonesia’s need for greater investment in naval capabilities as well as for maritime cooperation.
Several speakers also looked at future prospects for the bilateral relationship. One speaker asked, ‘What should the relationship feel like in 20 years?’, the implication being that national sentiment and the degree of ‘warmth’ each country felt for the other would set the course towards stronger strategic ties down the track. For example, interoperability between our militaries (and even officers serving in each other’s battalions) was proposed as a desirable end. Yet several participants challenged this idea, on the grounds that interoperability entails greater compatibility between our systems than is commonly understood and greater congruence between our respective strategic cultures was still needed.
One issue that spurred particularly heated discussion was Papua which, as Peter and Gary Hogan have previously noted on The Strategist, is an area of potential tension between our countries. While the Indonesian participants acknowledged Australia’s official line of recognising Indonesian sovereignty over Papua, some were wary about our commitment to this position. One speaker noted that although Indonesian officials were aware of the Lombok Treaty’s wording on Papua, regular high-level policy coordination between our sides might assist in making our position even clearer. Others talked about bringing Papua New Guinea into a dialogue with Indonesia to discuss the province and other common strategic issues. What was clear from the sometimes heated exchanges around the table was that such frank discussion reflected the trust and confidence in the room, but this isn’t always apparent in the wider relationship.
As with many dialogues on defence and security in the Asia-Pacific, discussion about the strategic position of China and the United States was prominent. There were diverse views but an opinion common to many was that the US remained central to regional confidence and stability. A number of participants thought that Washington needed to do a better job of explaining its broader strategic purpose. Some also said there needed to be a clearer statement of purpose made for the enhanced cooperation between the US and Australia in our north. Showing that all politics is ultimately local, a number of delegates pointed to perceptions (reportedly held by some in Indonesia) that the US Marine Corps deployment was targeted towards protecting US mining interests in Papua. That proposition would likely bemuse US policy makers in both the Pentagon and State Department, but it points to the deep investment needed to build closer relations and trust.
On China’s rise, many participants are watching developments in the South China Sea very closely, especially with an eye to any potential impacts on the security of sea-borne trade. Many in Indonesia are acutely aware of their country’s growing strategic importance and the way in which geography is creating a greater global interest in the region and its vital sea-lanes. There was deep discussion at the dialogue on how Indonesia should respond to this emerging strategic role. Should Jakarta move away from its traditionally non-aligned approach, or does its current foreign policy settings adequately protect its interests? There was broad endorsement for closer ties with Australia and interest in the possibility that such cooperation might include more joint effort on maritime security. But it would be premature to suggest that there’s widespread agreement as to how the bilateral relationship should be deepened.
One particularly amusing and insightful presentation compared the Australia–Indonesia relationship to a marriage. And if the analogy is right, for reasons of proximity, history, interest and mutual benefit, the case for keeping the marriage of a rather unlikely couple together is very strong: even the best relationships have ups and downs. There remains some cause to wish that the two countries understood each other better but a lack of Indonesian language training in Australia and similarly a lack of a strong Indonesian interest in studying Australia don’t help. But participants agreed that individuals and groups in both countries would continue to highlight differences of interest, if not of values, between the two countries. The challenge for Australia and Indonesia is to learn to love each other with all our faults and differences, rather than to make those blemishes grounds for splitting up.
Peter Jennings is executive director at ASPI, and Natalie Sambhi is an analyst at ASPI and editor of The Strategist. Image credit: Luke Wilson, ASPI.
There is reason to be pleased with the defence outcomes of the 2 plus 2 meeting just concluded in Jakarta. For once delivered without hype, the meeting’s communiqué points to solid progress in building a closer relationship between two unlikely friends, Australia and Indonesia. Although the unemotional Stephen Smith and the flamboyant Purnomo Yusgiantoro must qualify as the Odd Couple of regional defence diplomacy, it seems that the two ministers have established a good rapport. The Australian decision to brief Indonesia closely on the development of the 2013 Defence White Paper has been rewarded with an offer from Purnomo to do the same for a planned Indonesian defence statement next year. That’s a good basis for building a closer dialogue.
Australia’s offer to provide the Indonesian military with an additional five C-130H Hercules aircraft at ‘mates rates’ after the gifting of an initial four is a useful development for both countries. This will boost Indonesia’s air-lift capacity, shortfalls in which hamper our cooperation in responding to natural disasters. Commitments to increasing exercises and the perennial promise of considering joint maritime patrolling are all steps on the right track. Earlier on The Strategist I proposed a number of practical steps that could be taken to build further defence-to-defence links, so there’s scope for the relationship to grow further.
So far so good then for generating some momentum behind the bipartisan Australian aspiration of getting cosier with Jakarta. But the reality is that a significant number of impediments stand in the way of achieving genuinely closer defence engagement, notwithstanding the good intentions of chummy ministers. The four most substantial of these might be thought of as the four ‘Problem Ps’: priorities, politics, perceptions and Papua.
As a strategic priority, it’s a fact that Indonesia is more important to Australian security than we are to them. Australia is, and will remain, the unthreatening southern flank to Indonesia, but inPaul Dibb’s memorable words, the archipelago is the place ‘from or through which a military threat to Australia could most easily be posed’. The defence planning implications of this are profound and remain a consideration no matter how good the bilateral relationship. For its part, Indonesia’s strategic priorities remain focused on ASEAN, on China and on building a larger global role for itself as an emerging middle power. A non-aligned movement pedigree has left a residual mistrust in Jakarta of the idea of aligning too closely to any power but, because of its potential, other countries—India, the US, Japan and China to name four—are looking to build closer relations with Indonesia. When the big suitors come knocking why would you want to date homely Canberra? It’s emerging as a challenge for Australia to sustain the idea in Jakarta that our relationship with Indonesia deserves their priority.
A second risk is the potential impact of domestic politics in both countries on the bilateral relationship. In Australia it’s a sad fact that the issues of high public interest that most impact on relations do so in a negative way. Indonesia’s poor performance in controlling illegal people movements through its territory, the emotive debate around the live cattle trade and drug trafficking dominate media reporting and make for a difficult agenda for political interaction. In terms of Indonesian politics, there’s a widely held Australian view that we’re likely to be treated with less sympathy after President Yudhoyono completes his term.
This leads to my third ‘p’—perceptions. Negative stereotypes exist in both countries about the other. The Lowy Institute 2012 Poll of Public Opinion and Foreign Policy asked Australians to rate their ‘warmth’ level to a number of countries. Indonesia rated a distinctly cool 54 %, above Burma (50%) but below Egypt (56%). Similar scores have been registered in Lowy polls going back to 2006. Australia fared a little better in a poll of Indonesian sentiment, rating a ‘warmth’ level of 62% percent in 2012, up from 51% in 2006. Perceptions are malleable things and with effort governments can improve popular sentiment. But it doesn’t take much for Australians to get hot under the collar over, say, film footage of cruel abattoir practices in Indonesia or for Indonesians to picket the Australian embassy in Jakarta. Media coverage in both countries tends to stir negative perceptions. It will take a lot of political investment over many years to create a more realistic and positive set of perceptions.
The final problem ‘p’ is Papua, or rather misperceptions in both countries about that province. There’s a view in Indonesian military circles that the Australian Government has a secret ambition to somehow remove Papua from incorporation in the Republic. That’s simply not the case as far as Australian government thinking is concerned. It’s not in our strategic interest to promote the creation of another broken-backed micro-state in our neighbourhood. But there are clearly a number of NGOs and others who oppose incorporation and who will watch very carefully for signs of TNI and police ill-treatment of Papuans. It’s again a reality that the Indonesian military is at a different stage of its development in the treatment of people it regards as threats than is the ADF, for example. Recent reports about the alleged extra-judicial executions of four suspects in prison by Kopassus soldiers demonstrates that defence cooperation is a difficult field. What happens if Australian gifted C-130s are used to fly troops to Papua? That will be a test of the maturity of our strategic relationship.
These four problem areas complicating closer relations should in no way slow the effort to build a strategic partnership with Indonesia. What they demonstrate is that this is a challenging relationship, not one that can be set right by a handful of ministerial visits, but necessarily a task for long term development. It will take a huge effort and deep bipartisan political investment to bring the two countries closer.
Peter Jennings is executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Image courtesy ofAustralian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
By Socratez Sofyan Yoman
Hamengku Buwono X Sultan recently stated “...Dialogue is not a solution, but a media or a forum provided to break through the political communication deadlock between Jakarta and Papua. A more intense and regular communication is a necessity in order to overcome the tension, suspicion and disbelief so far. Peaceful dialogue does not happen in an instant, it is a result of long process which has to be thoroughly prepared. Though complicated, a preliminary dialogue is a very possible to formulate prerequisite and conditions which can convince both sides to enter the dialogue.”
Sultan suggested that the prerequisites of the dialogue should be the following: “First, equality, openness and mutual respect Second, solving the root of violence includes the release of political prisoners (tapol/ napol), resolution of land issues (land politics), security apparatus management and resolution of human rights violations with just and dignity. Third, the national dialogue has to be based on political decision of the central government, because without an official decision, it is almost certain that there will not be a peaceful dialogue.”
“Dialogue does not mean Independence for Papua, neither does it mean NKRI (Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia), Special Autonomy, or Acceleration of Papuan Development. The essence of the dialogue is as a media, a way of communicating for the participants to open themselves, see the other as an equal with dignity and the goodwill to sit together then talk about the issues which has become the source of dispute, tension, conflicts and the origin of violence.” (Source: Seminar 50 Tahun Papua Dalam Indonesia, Jakarta, May 15, 2013).
The state speech by the President of Indonesia, Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, on August 16, 2008, mentioned“ The persuasive, proactive and even nature of the government policies managed to convince various faction that violence is not the best way to solve the problem.” The state speech of President in August 16, 2010, “the government continues to study the dynamics in Papua, and will continue pursuing constructive communication in for the development of a better Papua.” The speech of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono on August 16, 2011 stated, “Handling Papua with a heart is the key to every step taken to successfully develop Papua”.
The government of United States fully supports a peaceful dialogue to solve the problem Papua. US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton in Honolulu, Hawaii stated on November 10, 2011, “there is a need of continuous dialogue and political reformation to fulfill the legal need of Papuans and we will raise the issue again and push for this kind of approach.”
On December 16, 2011 Papua Church leaders with leaders from PGI (Persekutuan Gereja-gereja Indonesia, Communion of Churches in Indonesia) had a meeting with the president of Indonesia in Cikeas and convey: “the crystallized demand of Papuans for self-determination and unconditional peaceful dialogue involving a third-party.”
On May 17, 2013 Papuan Church leaders held a meeting with US ambassador for Indonesia in his residence. In the meeting the ambassador mentioned, “the government of US fully support the problem of Papua with a peaceful dialogue between Papuans and the government of Indonesia.”
On May 3, 2007, Churches in Papua stated that the implementation of Special Autonomy in Papua has become a new problem and failed. Thus, the solution is “an honest and peaceful dialogue like the solution to the problem in Aceh. The dialogue mediated by a neutral third party requested and approved by native Papuans and the government of Indonesia.”
On December 3-7, 2007, all religious and church leaders in Lokakarya Papua Tanah Damai (Papua Land of Peace Workshop) urges the government of Indonesia ‘to immediately resolve the the ideology difference in Papua with an honest and open dialogue between the central government and native Papuans involving a neutral third party approved by both sides.”
On October 22, 2008 Churches in Papua stated that ‘the pro and cons of the Pepera implementation cannot be solved with road blockings, arrests, imprisonments or beating by apparatus. Arresting, putting to trials and imprisoning every Papuans will not solve the problem of Pepera. We believe there is no violence great enough to solve the problem of Pepera. Thusm to hinder all kinds of violence and to stop Papuans from becoming victim, we suggest the resolution for this by a peaceful dialogue.”
On October 14-17, 2008 Konferensi Gereja dan Masyarakat (Conference on Church and Society) called ‘the Central Government to open themselves to a dialogue with Native Papuans in the evaluation of the implementation of UU No. 21 tahun 2001 on Special Autonomy and Revising Papuan History. To stop the stigmatizing labels “separatists, TPN (the National Liberation Army), TPN, OPM (Free Papua Movement), GPK , maker (separatists)’ of kind given to Papuans and return their rights and dignity as human made by God. The “innocent until proven guilty principle should be upholded.”
On October 18, 2009 it was stated ‘to hinder all kind of violence we suggest the problem of 1969 Pepera to be resolved by a peaceful dialogue. We request the Indonesian government and Papuans to discuss the issue of Pepera through a dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party. However sensitive,the problem with Papua has to be solved by a peaceful dialogue between the government and Papuans. We believe that through a dialogue, a peaceful solution can be found.”
On August 12, 2010 Papuan Church leaders in a moral and empathic appeal stated, “Papuan Church Leaders call for a national dialogue to resolve the problems in Papua in a just, dignified, and humane way mediated by a neutral third party.”
On January 10, 2011 the Communique of Papuan Church Leaders urges the Indonesian government to enter a dialogue with Papuans soon to end the legal and political uncertainty in Papua which has been the root of the prolonged conflict and cause distress to the flock of God on the land.
On January 26, 2011 Papuan Church Leaders appeal to the Indonesian government to open themselves for a dialogue with native Papuans with mediation of a neutral third party.
/Persekutuan Gereja-gereja Di Indonesia/ (PGI, Communion of Churches in Indonesia) in their /Sidang Majelis Pekerja Lengkap/ (Worker Plenary Assembly) in Tobelo on February 4-8, 2011 affirms to: ‘hearing the cry of Papuan people on their value and dignity and various humanity problem caused by the failure of UU Otonomi Khusus, and paying attention to the critics made by churches in Papua on the governance, political and social progression. Genuinely attend to the urges of Papuan churches and indigenous people to carry out a Papua-Jakarta dialogue.”
The Position Paper of Pokja Papua-PGI (CCI Working group) on Papua, No. 3 point B: “urges for a National Dialogue as a democratic patform to find the best, just and dignified solution for a society who deem themselves ‘colonized’ since 1969.”
The World Communion of Reformed Churches also supports a peaceful dialogue mediated by third party. World Communion of Reformed Churches supports a referendum for the native West Papuans.
Papuans held /Konferensi Perdamaian Papua/ (Papuan Peace Conference), July 5-7, 2011 in Jayapura. The conference was opened by the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Law and Security Affairs who also gave a Keynote Speech along with the Governor of Papua, Pangdam XVII Trikora/Cenderawasih (the military commander of XVII Trikora/ Cenderawasih area), the Head of Papua regional Police, Bishop Dr.Leo Laba Ladjar, Dr. Tonny Wanggai, and me (Socratez Yoman).
Through this conference Papuans have chosen 5 (five) people and determined them as negotiators of Papua in the dialogue with Jakarta: (1) Rex Rumakiek (Australia), (2) John Otto Ondowame (Vanuatu), (3) Benny Wenda (United Kingdom), (4) Leoni Tanggahma (The Netherlands), (5) Otto Mote (United States of America).
Indonesian government cannot use an excuse that Papuans consist of many factions and have no leader in a dialogue. Right now, Papuans already have leaders and negotiators chosen by Papuans through a conference officially opened by Indonesian government. Indonesian government can neither use the excuse that the problem of Papua is a domestic problem.
In the understanding of Papuans the problem of Papua is a problem with international dimension.
A famous intellectual and LIPI researcher, Dr. Ikrar Nusa Bhakti acknowledges:
“From the past to present, the problem of Irian Jaya (now: Papua) is not only between Indonesia and Papuan people, but also related to the international world. It doesn’t just connect the relation among people, between people and government, government and government, but also between the churches.”
Accurately Rev. Dr. Karel Phil Erari has declared: “For Papua, the construction of the conflict has local, national and international dimension. With that kind of construction, peace building efforts to create a whole and comprehensive wellbeing, has to involve three components connected in the’cold war’ history in Papua. Why? Because the effort to build peace for the security of Papua, will only last briefly and be vulnerable if the root of the problem and parties involved in the ‘cold war’ history are outside the peace construction. The international community involves the Netherland, USA and UN. The three parties were directly involved in the conspiracy to carry out an Act of Free Choice which was against International law principles. The practice of Pepera with a representation system shows a public lie, because the 1,025 “people representatives” were given military and political pressure to choose Indonesia.” (Read Erari: /Yubileum dan Pembebasan Menuju Papua Baru, Lima Puluh Tahun Gereja Kristen Injili Di Tanah Papua 26 Oktober 1956-26 Oktober 2006/, pg.182).
Writer: Chairman of Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua .
4) Freeport Indonesia union says mine shut but maintenance under way
JAKARTA | Sat May 25, 2013 4:49am EDT
(Reuters) - Between 35 and 40 percent of workers at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's Indonesian unit returned to work on Saturday to carry out maintenance work after a tunnel collapse that killed 28 people, a union official said.
The resumption of work was a possible sign the firm was gearing up towards restarting operations at the world's No. 2 copper mine.
Arizona-based Freeport suspended operations at the remote Papua mine on May 15, at a cost estimated at about $15 million a day in lost production.
Operations were suspended a day after the tunnel, away from its main operations, fell in on 38 workers.
"Starting today, around 35 to 40 percent of workers have been back to work in Freeport mining facility in Papua, but only for mining facilities and equipment maintenance, especially in Grasberg open-pit mining," Papua-based union leader Virgo Solossa told Reuters.
"Production activities are still shut. We hope investigation teams complete their works as soon as possible."
Several investigations are being conducted, including one by the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and one by Freeport Indonesia using international experts.
Solossa reiterated that all investigations into the cause of the collapse must be completed before mining resumes at the Grasberg complex, which also holds the world's largest gold reserves.
"The company, with the unions, have agreed to actually return to work, starting yesterday," Freeport spokeswoman Daisy Primayanti said on Saturday, although she was unable to give an exact figure or percentage of returning workers.
On Thursday, Freeport Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said the company was prepared to re-start production relatively quickly and had taken the first steps of getting workers back and having training briefings.
Primayanti said a possible restart of operations at Grasberg depended on the outcome of underground safety inspections being carried out by the energy and mineral resources ministry.
"Obviously, the company is keen on getting back to normal operations, pending further direction from the mine inspector," she said.
With no official estimate of how long the investigations might run, analysts worry the mine could face a prolonged closure and further strain relations between Freeport and trade unions after a three-month strike in late 2011.
The company and union put on hold pay talks, which began on May 13, after the tunnel collapse.
"It is not ethical to link the accident to the pay talks," Solossa said. "However, as far as safety is concerned, we will push the management to improve the safety systems for the sake of workers."
The Grasberg mine, which normally produces around 220,000 tonnes of concentrated ore a day, employs about 24,000 workers.
(Reporting by Yayat Supriatna and Michael Taylor; Editing by Ron Popeski and Paul Tait)