3 Aug 2004

Papuans to end militancy against Indonesia

3:22 pm on 3 August 2004

An Australian newspaper is reporting that Papuan leaders, including several from the Free Papua Movement, have decided to pursue self-determination from Indonesia through peaceful means.

The Sydney Morning Herald says the leaders met at a secret congress near the Indonesian border in Wewak in Papua New Guinea.

They are reported to have decided to establish an East Timor-style united council for independence with the aim of ending the armed conflict with the Indonesian Army.

In an interview due to be aired on the ABC tonight, Albert Kaliele, a pro-independence leader based in the regional capital, Jayapura, confirms that leaders across the province are prepared to lay down their arms and embrace diplomacy.

The newspaper says Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, is cautiously publicly supporting a political solution.

He said he had a friendly understanding with Indonesia, but the world had yet to properly deal with the West Papuan self-determination.