9 Jul 2004

Papua governor warns Jakarta against splitting province

3:34 pm on 9 July 2004

The Governor of the Indonesian province of Papua says it could disintegrate into separatist violence if Jakarta goes ahead with its plan to split the province.

Governor J.P. Salossa told the Indonesian Constitutional Court yesterday that Indonesia's plan to divide the province was "wish-washy".

Mr Salossa says the plan has made most Papuans doubt Jakarta's commitment to developing the province and says the plan goes against an earlier law that grants Papuans special autonomy over their own affairs.

In 2003, President Megawati Soekarnoputri issued a presidential decree that split Papua into three provinces - Papua, Central Irian, and West Irian.

After widespread protests, her administration shelved the plan, with just West Irian established.