16 Nov 2005

Fresh call for region's leaders to seek dialogue over Papua conflict

5:14 pm on 16 November 2005

The editor of a new book on dealing with conflict in the Pacific says it is vital that the region confronts the tensions in Indonesia's Papua province.

The book, Securing a Peaceful Pacific, grew out of conference of the same name held last year at Christchurch's Canterbury University.

Its organiser and the book's editor, Associate Professor John Henderson, says it brings together a wide range of viewpoints - from academics, members of NGOs and those directly involved in coping with conflict and its aftermath.

The book emphasizes the need for local solutions, and to act early, to stem potential conflict.

And Dr Henderson says ongoing disputes, such as that in Papua, cannot be ignored by the region's leaders and the Pacific Islands Forum.

"I think ignoring it is the worst possible outcome. I mean what is needed from the Forum is an expression of regional concern, and concern that should take the form of dialogue with all the parties to the dispute. Like many of the conflicts in Melanesia, there's not just two parties, there's many parties involved."