2 Oct 2007

West Papua Coalition raises greater likelihood of dialogue with Jakarta - academic

8:26 pm on 2 October 2007

An Australian academic says Papuans stand a better chance of negotiating their log of claims with the Indonesian government under the West Papua Coalition for National Liberation.

The Coalition has embarked on a fresh drive for negotiations on greater democracy and self-determination for Papuans.

It is demanding a peace dialogue with Indonesia involving third-party mediators.

An associate professor at Australia's Deakin University, Damien Kingsbury, says that previously Papuans have not had a united front to push their cause.

He says with all the native Papuan political organisations, as well as a wide range of NGOs and church groups under its umbrella, this coalition is the most representative yet.

"It's a question of how such a negotiation process might proceed and what could possibly come out of it, but at this stage the Indonesian Government needs to come to the party, it needs to say we are interested in talking with you, we recognize that the only possible solution to the problems in West Papua is a political solution and you are a legitimate representative body and we need to speak to you. And I hope they'll do that soon."

Damien Kingsbury