21 Jun 2004

Papuan activist says proposed meeting with Indonesia in Vanuatu would be historic

7:32 am on 21 June 2004

A Papuan pro-independence activist says a proposed meeting with representatives of the Indonesian government could be the start of the peace process.

Dr John Ondawame, of the West Papua People's Representative Office in Port Vila, has welcomed an invitation from the Vanuatu government for a roundtable discussion with Indonesia in Port Vila late next month.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, has indicated his government is open to the idea, but he has not formally responded to the invitation. .

Dr Ondawame says any meeting would be historic.

"But the important point is that Indonesians agree to initiate this peace process by taking round table discussion with us. I think this is a very historic event because West Papua has been attempting this for many, many years."

He says he both sides need to develop a common understanding and trust in order to continue dialogue in the future.