12 Oct 2005

Indonesia delays establishment of Papua Peoples' Assembly

11:23 am on 12 October 2005

The Indonesian government has delayed indefinitely the establishment of the Papuan People's Assembly, blaming a dispute among local religious

leaders and authorities.

The government had promised to complete the selection of 42 assembly members last week and to install them on Saturday (Oct. 15).

Ministry of Internal Affairs official, Sudarsono Hardjosoekarto, says Papuan authorities and local leaders are still debating the composition of Protestant, Catholic and Muslim minority groups in the parliament.

Mr. Harjosoekarto says the government is still holding talks with Papuan leaders about the role of the assembly, to ensure it would be in line with the special

autonomy law.

Critics have claimed the government is delaying setting up the assembly because it is reluctant to give it the wide-ranging political powers mandated by the province's special autonomy status.