|Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he joined
with House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde and Ranking
Democrat Tom Lantos to welcome and meet with the new President of Indonesia,
Her Excellency Megawati Sukarnoputri.
In the meeting at the U.S.Capitol, President Megawati’s delegation
included Indonesia’s Minister for Political and Security Affairs, Mr. Bambang
Susilo Yudhoyomo; the Minister for Economic Affairs and former Ambassador
to the United States, Mr. Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti; the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Mr. N. Hassan Wirajuda; and the President’s Chief of Staff, Mr.
“In light of the tragic terrorist attacks on the United States this
past week,” stated Faleomavaega, “I commend President Megawati, the leader
of 210 million people and the largest Islamic nation in the world,
for coming to Washington and joining with our country in condemning international
terrorism. While we are thankful for Indonesia’s support and cooperation,
it is also important to recognize their concern that America’s response
not be perceived as anti-Muslim, for our fight is against terrorism not
Congressman Faleomavaega noted that President Megawati’s pledge
to strengthen existing cooperation with the United States to combat global
terrorism is particularly important given the rise in Indonesia of extremist,
radical Islamic groups, such as Laskar Jihad, whose members have received
training in Afghanistan and been involved in the Maluku Islands conflict
where thousands have died. The wide-ranging discussions also focused
on Indonesia’s progress in stopping human rights violations, necessary
reform of the military, and repatriation of East Timorese citizens from
West Timor, among other issues.
“During the meeting, I commended and thanked President Megawati
for deciding in her first major address to parliament to issue deep apologies
to the people of West Papua and Aceh for the many atrocities committed
by the Indonesian military over decades, “ stated Congressman Faleomavaega.
“Given Indonesia’s 300 year history of colonization where it labored under
Dutch colonial rule, I noted that President Megawati more than anyone should
be sensitive to concerns of human rights, self-determination and democracy.”
While raising issues of human rights abuses in West Papua, the Congressman
specifically inquired as to the status of the Special Autonomy proposal
for West Papua and was informed it was still in planning with implementation
expected by next year. In response to Congressman Faleomavaega’s
interest in West Papua, President Megawati invited him to come to Indonesia.
“With over $20 billion of American investments in oil and mining
operations, much of it in West Papua, and 36,000 of our citizens in Indonesia,
the United States has numerous interests in that country and I look forward
to traveling to Indonesia in response to President Megawati’s kind invitation,
“ concluded Faleomavaega.