Indonesia’s government is proposing $US4 million in funding towards influencing Pacific Island countries to change their position on Papua.
The Kompas newspaper reports the country’s top security minister, Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, saying the money would be used to finance soft diplomacy efforts in the South Pacific.
He said a lot of countries in the region get misinformation about Indonesia’s attitude towards Papua and that actually Jakarta was promoting development there.
The proposed budget would be used to improve the image of Papua and increase Indonesian engagement in the Pacific, including border security and security intelligence cooperation.
Wiranto said Indonesia had invited Nauru President Baron Waqa and Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai to see the positive work in Papua for themselves.
Nauru and Vanuatu have called for investigations into alleged human rights abuses in West Papua at the United Nations but have softened their tone in recent months.
Mr Waqa met with Wiranto in Nauru in February and voiced support for Indonesia’s development of Papua.
And an April visit by a Solomon Islands delegation to Papua caused an upset among staunch advocates in the traditionally pro-Papuan independence country.
In his comments this week, Wiranto said countries promoting Papuan independence at the United Nations had to be dealt with.
Source: Radio New Zealand