Foreign & Commonwealth Office
London SW1A 2AH
From the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
13 March 2008
The Rt Hon Andrew Smith MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Thank you for your letter of 22 February to the Foreign Secretary on behalf of your constituent, Mr Richard Samuelson, Co-Director of Free West Papua Campaign, PO Box 656, Oxford, OX3 3AP, about independence for Kosovo and Papua. I am replying as Minister responsible for our relations with Indonesia.
Kosovo is a unique case with a range of circumstances that are not replicated elsewhere in the world. These include:
– Its substantial autonomy under the 1974 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia constitution, which was brushed aside by President Milosevic in 1989.
– Sustained oppression followed, including brutal violence by Yugoslav security forces in 1998-9.
– NATO intervened in 1999 to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. UN Security Council resolution 1244 was adopted in 1999 as the authority for the UN to govern Kosovo.
– Competence and authority have gradually been transferred to the Kosovo provisional institutions, including the establishment of new ministries.
– UN Security Council resolution 1244 provided for a political process to determine Kosovo’s final status. The UN Special Envoy’s Comprehensive Proposal for Kosovo’s supervised independence is the outcome of that process.
All these factors distinguish Kosovo clearly from other unresolved issues. The international community has in practice been treating Kosovo as a special case since 1999.
The UK respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia and therefore does not support independence of Papua. We believe that full implementation of existing Special Autonomy legislation is the best way to proceed towards a sustainable resolution to the internal differences and the long-term stability of Papua.
President Yudhoyono has said that he is committed to a “just, comprehensive and dignified solution”, including through “consistent implementation” of Special Autonomy. We welcome this. The Special Autonomy legislation is enshrined in Indonesian law, was supported by Papuan groups, and is also supported by the international community.
The best way to resolve the issues in Papua is through promoting peaceful dialogue between Papuan groups and the Indonesian government. We are in regular contact with Papuan activist groups in the UK, and encourage dialogue between them and the Government of Indonesia.
Source: Richard Samuelson