Bagus BT Saragih and Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Jayapura | National | Wed, August 21 2013, 7:51 AM
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday he believed authorities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) would take decisive measures against Freedom Flotilla West Papua, a group of pro-West Papuan independence activists from Australia who intend to enter Indonesia via the neighboring nation.
The city of Daru in western PNG is planned to be the activist’s last stopover before they proceed on land to Merauke, the easternmost city in the Papua province.
In two boats, dozens of activists departed from the city of Cairns in northeastern Australia on Aug. 17 — the day Indonesians celebrated the nation’s 68th anniversary. They plan to arrive in Daru in early September.
“The Papua New Guinean government has said that they will not allow [the boats] to enter [its territory],” Marty said after attending the Special Conference on Irregular Movement of Persons in Jakarta. “If they insist on proceeding, the Papua New Guinean authorities will take enforcement measures,” he added.
Marty also said that he did not want to provide “more platforms” to the movement which he accused of merely “seeking publicity without having any connection to the facts of development currently underway in Papua and West Papua provinces.”
On the sidelines of the conference, Marty had a bilateral meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr who was also attending the Jakarta conference.
After the meeting, Carr reiterated that the Australian government did not support the movement particularly given the activists’ failure to obtain visas and a sailing permit which could carry legal consequences under Indonesian law.
Marty, meanwhile, acknowledged the activists’ movements had been discussed with his Australian counterpart. “I listened to Australia’s reaffirmation of recognition of the developments Indonesia has been making in Papua and West Papua provinces,” he said. Marty declined to say whether the government had conveyed a protest to Canberra for letting the flotilla depart from Australian soil.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto previously said that he had told Australian ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty “that no nation should allow its soil to be used as a departure point for the movement of a group aimed at disturbing another nation’s sovereignty.”
A Fiji-based media outlet, Islands Business, published an article on Tuesday quoting a PNG police commander who said that Port Moresby “has been alerted to a proposed celebration to mark the landing of a convoy of ships from Cairns Australia, carrying West Papuan people and rights activists.”
The outlet also said PNG police “would not allow any event to mark the proposed independence of the West Papua people of Indonesia.”
According to Australian media, the “Freedom Flotilla” boats had reached Cooktown in North Queensland on Tuesday. The boat’s last stop in Australia will be Thursday Island, also in Queensland, where they will seek customs clearance and hold a press conference before proceeding to Daru.