Foreign Minister Bob Carr says Australia has been “explicit” in its support for Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua.Senator Carr told Newsline the provinces have been recognised “by all the nations in the earth” as Indonesian territory.
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“There are Australians, a very small number I think…who take an interest in the notion for more autonomy for Papua but I remind them that you’d be doing a disservice to the Indonesian population of those two provinces if you held out any hope that Australia could influence the cause of events,” he said.
The Foreign Minister has dismissed suggestions public pressure would cause Australia to change its policy on Papua’s autonomy.
“I just ask those idealistic Australians who might entertain some other arrangement, that what would be the cost in terms of our friendship with Indonesia and in terms of our budget of a different arrangement.
“It’s inconceivable, utterly inconceivable.”
‘Australians seen as Asians’
The Foreign Minister says Australia’s relationship with Indonesia involves a “habit of consultation” – a relationship it enjoys with a number of its Asian neighbours including Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
“We had the Singaporeans through in recent weeks and again we have common approaches to issues like the South China Sea, he said.
“A comfortable alignment of our foreign policy positions.”
He also countered criticisms Australia’s perceptions of Asia are superficial and too “Eurocentric” in response to the recently-released Asian Century policy paper.
“The foreign minister of Myanmar was through here last week and he said..’We see Australia as Asians’,” he said.
“Why wouldn’t he? We were there in Myanmar lifting, not just suspending our sanctions.”
Senator Carr says the fact Australia won a seat on the United Nations Security Council is also testament of its strong relationship with its neighbours.
“I was struck by this when I stood there in the UN and I was being congratulated by nations from every region in the world and it dawned on me that they’re comfortable with Australia and that reflects our diplomacy,” he said.
Source: Australia Network News