Papua separatist leader to hold peace talks with Indonesia Afdrukken
Geschreven door Center for Excellence   
donderdag 19 maart 2009 01:00

Indonesia, March 19, 2009

A senior leader of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) is expected to hold peace talks with the Indonesian government on Friday (March 20). According to the Jakarta Post, Nicolas Jouwe, one of the founders and top leaders of the OPM, will meet with Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie in Indonesia for talks. 

"He has refused to meet with Indonesian officials for dozens of years... But finally, he is willing to come to Indonesia. He even said he wanted to be President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's adviser for Papua matters," the Jakarta Post quoted Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands J.E. "Fany" Habibie said at a press conference in the capital, Jakarta. Habibie said that Jouwe appeared to change his stance after they met in the Netherlands in February.  Habibie was part of a delegation sent to lobby the separatist leader, according to the Post.  However, he said that although the move was significant, the step towards peace was still fragile and Jakarta should handle the matter carefully, the Post reported. "Nicolas will ask the Indonesian central government to impose sanctions on local state officials embezzling Papua special autonomy funds.  He will also call OPM activists to cease their separatist movement and maintain integration with Indonesia, Habibie was quoted as saying by the Post. Papuan separatists have been waging a simmering low-level campaign against Jakarta for decades. Separatists have denounced the 1969 referendum that gave control of the province to Indonesia in a vote that many have criticized as being flawed. The territory was under control of the Dutch until 1963 when Jakarta took control. An Indonesian soldier was killed by Papuan separatists in Indonesia's easternmost Papua province on Saturday (March 14), the state Antara news agency reported. According to Antara, OPM rebels opened fire on a remote military outpost on Saturday and killed a soldier before setting a bridge on fire and fleeing. The OPM, a small, poorly armed group, has battled for independence since Jakarta took over the province from the Dutch. However, according to the Associated Press, it has been years since a government soldier was killed in the province.