The National, Friday 14th June 2013
By MALUM NALU
INDONESIA has for the first time asked Papua New Guinea to help manage the West Papua issue, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill revealed yesterday.
O’Neill said the Government had taken up the offer and he would discuss the issue with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his first state visit to Indonesia on Sunday.
He said PNG maintained that West Papua was as an integral part of Indonesia despite allegations and concerns about Jakarta’s human rights abuses.
“Of course, we are concerned,” he told a media briefing in Port Moresby on the eve of his four-day visit.
“But we have a policy that the issue of West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia. We consistently maintain that.”
“The president for the first time in history, has asked Papua New Guinea to manage some of the issues on the ground in West Papua,” O’Neill said.
“We have taken up the invitation, and we are possibly going to discuss many of these issues, including the reports of human right abuses, with the president and the Indonesia government.
“I want to assure our people of the border region that our Government will work closely with, and have very open dialogue with the Indonesian government, on finding a long-term solution and a way forward for our people in West Papua.
“I look forward to having these discussions with the president, and I’m very certain that we’ll have a positive outcome as a result of these discussions.
“I don’t want to preempt anything yet but we are encouraged by the positiveness of the president and government on this issue.”