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Cablegate: The Ambassador's Meeting with Health Minister Endang On

Published: Fri 15 Jan 2010 10:02 AM
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 000064
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TAGS: PREL PGOV TSPL TBIO EAID KGHG ID
SUBJECT: THE AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH HEALTH MINISTER ENDANG ON
NAMRU-2
1. (U) This message is Sensitive But Unclassified. Please handle
accordingly.
2. (U) This message contains an ACTION REQUEST. Please see
paragraph 10.
3. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a January 14 meeting, Ambassador Hume told
Health Minister Endang that the USG wanted to send a negotiating
team to Jakarta in order to resolve outstanding issues regarding the
proposed Indonesia-United States Center for Biomedical and Public
Health research (IUC). He explained that we had to resolve the
issue by mid-February given the GOI's extension of visas for U.S.
Navy personnel currently assigned to NAMRU-2 until March 15.
Because of this compressed timeframe, the Ambassador proposed that
the delegation arrive in early February. Minister Endang welcomed a
USG negotiating team and said that Indonesia wanted to find a way
forward. She cautioned that some sensitive issues remained, most
notably the continued participation of U.S. Navy personnel in the
IUC, but stressed that Indonesia wanted to find a way ahead. In a
separate conversation, a key presidential advisor welcomed the
delegation and said the GOI was considering creative options that
might still allow U.S. Navy participation. He also suggested that
the Secretary and FM Natalegawa discuss the matter. END SUMMARY.
4. (SBU) Ambassador Hume and Embassy Jakarta's interagency health
team met January 14 with Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih
and GOI interagency officials to discuss the way forward on the IUC.
The Ambassador noted that President Obama and President Yudhoyono
had reiterated the importance of deepening U.S.-Indonesia health
cooperation when they met in Singapore on the margins of APEC. The
USG had welcomed former Health Minister Supari's commitment to
launch the IUC when she met Secretary Sebelius in Washington in
September. We now need to find a way to continue that progress and
make the IUC a reality.
5. (SBU) The Ambassador explained that the GOI's decision to extend
visas for personnel currently assigned to the U.S. Navy Medical
Research Unit (NAMRU-2) until March 15 gave us little time. He
proposed that the USG send an interagency negotiating team to
Jakarta in early February to try to reach agreement on issues that
remained outstanding and to find a way to launch the IUC. Given the
reality of personnel planning and other practical matters, the
Ambassador noted that the USG would have to reach a decision on the
continued presence of NAMRU-2 personnel in Indonesia by
mid-February.
6. (SBU) Minister Endang agreed that deepening health cooperation
was important and said that the GOI wanted to find a way ahead. She
said the GOI would welcome a negotiating team in early February to
pursue the matter. However, Minister Endang noted the sentiment of
the legislature (DPR), NGOs and media and said that the continued
presence of U.S. Navy personnel was extremely sensitive. The
Cabinet had already discussed the matter and Minister Endang said it
would be very difficult to resolve.
7. (SBU) Ambassador Hume explained that the Navy had funding and
personnel that were not available to other USG agencies. If the
Navy did not participate in the IUC, those resources and personnel
would disappear. Endang did not appear aware of this fact. (Note:
GOI officials have persistently held the mistaken view that the USG
could transfer funding that currently supports U.S. Navy operations
at NAMRU-2 for use by another USG agency.) Endang said we should
make an effort to resolve the remaining issues and try to find a way
to make the IUC a reality. She welcomed a U.S. negotiating
delegation to do this and said that the GOI was prepared to work
with us to find a way forward.
8. (SBU) GOI officials also raised the matter of NAMRU-2's
continued operations. Bunyan Saptomo, Director for North American
Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DEPLU), referred to
the December 31, 2009, diplomatic note that conveyed the GOI's
decision to terminate the agreement covering NAMRU-2's operations.
Expanding on the text of that note, Bunyan proposed that the Embassy
and the GOI form a joint team to conduct an inventory of all fixed
equipment currently in NAMRU-2 premises.
JAKARTA 00000064 002 OF 002
9. (SBU) In a January 15 conversation, Presidential Advisor Dino
Djalal told Ambassador Hume that President Yudhoyono was considering
options that could allow continued U.S. Navy participation in the
IUC. One approach under consideration would be to assign some
Indonesian Military personnel to the center. This, Djalal
suggested, could give the GOI sufficient political cover. He also
welcomed the USG negotiating team and suggested that Secretary
Clinton discuss the matter with FM Natalegawa on the margins of the
January 28 Afghanistan ministerial conference in London. (Mission
will forward a recommendation for that meeting via septel.)
10. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: To move forward with the proposed early
February negotiation, mission requests the following:
-- That the Department confirm as soon as possible the members of
the USG negotiating delegation and the dates of their travel.
-- That the Department complete the C-175 authorization process as
soon as possible.
-- That the Department provide a USG draft text of the IUC MOU to us
no later than January 22. This timeframe is necessary in order to
allow the GOI to conduct an interagency review of the text prior to
the negotiating team's arrival.
END ACTION REQUEST.
HUME
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