Historic meeting: Papuan leader Nicolaas Jouwe & president Yudhoyono

Historic meeting: Papuan leader Nicolaas Jouwe & president Yudhoyono

Bapak Nico talks to SBY
Nicolaas Jouwe has had a historic meeting with Indonesian president Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono this morning. The meeting took place in a cordial and
respectful manner in the presidential estate in Bogor. Several issues concerning
Papua were discussed with an open mind and a focus on dialogue between
Papua and Jakarta."It was an encounter of heart and mind", said president Yudhoyono when he came out after the
meeting. Both men found it a succesfull event. Jouwe addressed the president as 'Mister President',
Yudhoyono called him 'Bapak Nico'.
"We will have some differences of opinion, now and in the future, but I have come to say let's put
them aside for now", Nicolaas Jouwe told president Yudhoyono at the start of their meeting at the
presidential residence in Bogor. "We have to find one another because we have common interests.
We have to solve the many problems the Papuan people find themselves in right now", the 85 year
old Papuan leader told the president. Jouwe stressed he was impressed by the willingness by the
Indonesian president to listen and his his earnestness and genuineness in tackling said problems."The president was clearly moved by the appeal Nicolaas Jouwe made for his people", one person
present during the meeting, stated afterwards. The president said Bapak Nico was not only a senior
leader of the Papuans, but also 'a great man'. Yudhoyono furthermore pointed out that he felt love
for Papua and the Papuan people and also stated the military approach is no longer the way to
resolve problems in Papua. After Nicolaas Jouwe raised the issue of human rights violations, the
president promptly retorted that serisous action would be taken against any of these violations. The
old Papuan leader then asked the president to release the Papuans who were in prison for raising the
Morning Star flag, the flag he designed in 1961. According to Nicolaas Jouwe the president was
earnest in his approach to handle these sensitive matters. At the end the president invited Nicolaas
Jouwe to parttake in further discussions on resolving the problems in Papua. According to the
president he would continue to seek Bapak Jouwe's advice on Papuan matters.

Three Indonesian ministers were also present during the meeting: minister Bakrie of Welfare,
minister Widodo of Politicial, Security and Legal affairs and minister Numberi (Maritime Affairs
and Fisheries), the only Papuan minister in the Yudhoyono-cabinet. Numberi has accompaniedJouwe on his trip.