President Yudhoyono: No offensive operations in Papua

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reaffirmed that there has not been offensive military operations in Papua since 2005, and since then the government has taken an approach of raising the population`s welfare to aid in solving problems in the province.

“Indonesia has managed problems in Papua as well as possible. For Indonesia, the Papua issue is not about sovereignty but a political, social, justice and welfare issue. I thank all friends who have given full support to Indonesia`s sovereignty and integrity. Since 2005, several weeks after I rose to the presidency, I stopped the use of the security approach and chose a welfare and justice approach instead (to deal with problems there),” he said in a speech before 128 ambassadors and representatives from international organizations at a meeting here on Wednesday (15/02).

Since then, he said, Papua has been granted special autonomy and a special budget has been allocated for development in a number of sectors in which Papua was considered behind other regions.

“Based on the MP3EI, (the master plan for acceleration and expansion of Indonesian economic development), we have set up a Papua-Maluku corridor that is undergoing development acceleration with a concrete agenda and budget,” he said.

Regarding the presence of police and military forces there, President Yudhoyono said, as in other regions, they are assigned to maintain order, conduct law enforcement and, for the military, safeguard the country`s territorial integrity, since Papua borders another country.

He said “only four battalions are assigned to secure the border, in addition to a local unit, and there has not been any military operations so far. Indeed, separatist activities still happen in Papua, claiming lives of police officers, military members and local residents. It is legitimate for us to assign our soldiers and policemen there for law enforcement purposes.”

Regarding excesses such as inappropriate acts by police and military members, President Yudhoyono reaffirmed that the government and the military (TNI) leadership would take harsh actions against those found committing such offenses.

“To deal with excesses, such as inappropriate actions that violate the law and human rights, sanctions would be given and the law would be enforced. Those who are guilty will certainly be punished. There will be no impunity. So, just follow the judicial processes. We wish to be transparent, as in the trials of terrorists,” he said.

President Yudhoyono added, “If (you) have negative information please inform us, inform the TNI commander, or the national police chief and we will investigate it. No incident will be covered up.

Further, I myself and the government will continue working seriously to overcome problems in Papua and obstacles to development.

Source: ANTARA News

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Filed under Military, Papua, Separatism

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