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By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Nauru
The Indonesian Government is keen to engage more with Pacific Island Countries as its steps up its presence in the region.
And it’s planning its first ever Indonesia-South Pacific Forum early next year, revealed Indonesia’s head of delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru this week, said Dr Desra Percaya, Indonesian Government’s head of delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru this week.
While details of the conference will be conveyed to Pacific Leaders later, Dr Percaya said Indonesia has also offered its assistance in the combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and addressing marine plastics in the Pacific.
“Your concern in oceans is the same as us. That’s why in the partners dialogue we are offering to work together to establish Pacific framework in combatting IUU in the region. In 2014 we lost US$4 billion because of IUU fishing and directly affected the livelihoods of the people, said Dr Percaya.
He told PACNEWS the second project for the Pacific is providing technology for biodegradable plastics.
“This is not only a problem in Indonesia or Pacific but a global problem. We have capacity building assistance and we can send technicians to the region to help with the problems of marine plastics.
“That is our objective - we are open to any countries in the Pacific. We have been engaged with a number of countries in the Pacific through the Bali Forum that discusses challenges to democracy. We are also inviting Pacific countries to our Oceans conference in Bali in October this year.
On West Papua, the Indonesian diplomat reiterated the issue of Papua is an internal matter for Indonesia.
“We have heard that Vanuatu has been very active in raising the issue about West Papua. I am just wondering why they are doing this because we are also a democratic country and we are keen to work together with members of the Pacific Islands Forum.
“You must look at Indonesia in a big picture. We have changed. We were under the military rule but now we are now a very vibrant democracy and issues are discussed openly. We are a responsible government in the international community and member of the United Nations, so I am puzzled why they are doing this.
“If I can send a message to them – please just get real! Indonesia is still a democratic country. We are not hiding anything, we are an open country and if you have any concern come and talk to us about it. To us, it’s a futile exercise, said Dr Percaya.
Reacting to the Chinese walk-out at the Partners Dialogue with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders on Tuesday this week, Dr Percaya said from his own experiences, having represented Indonesia as its Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, countries should respect the chair and host of the meeting.
“The brief from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to dialogue partners was very clear – only ministers would be given the opportunity to speak at the Dialogue session, said Dr Percaya.
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