28 Dec 2014

Indonesian president meets with Papua church leaders

1:15 pm on 28 December 2014

The Indonesian President, Joko Jokowi Widodo, is attending festivities in Papua despite calls from church leaders in Papua for Jokowi to abandon his plans.

The church leaders were expressing their disappointment over the government's slow response to the recent shooting incident in Paniai, in which five civilians were killed.

The Jakarta Post reports that Jokowi met with representatives from two Papuan churches, Benny Giay and Karel Phil Erari on Friday night, who rejected Jokowi's plan to visit Papua.

The Indonesian Communion of Churches' Bambang Wijaya says the organization hoped that Jokowi's visit will not merely be a ceremonial gesture, but will result in bringing peace to Papua.

It also submitted its findings on Paniai to the President, which concluded that Indonesian Military soldiers were responsible for the shootings.

The Cabinet Secretary, Andi Widjajanto, says Jokowi wants the incident to be investigated thoroughly, and intends to find solutions to Papuan matters in general.

The Bishops Council of Indonesia says it percieves that Jokowi's visit will be a part of a dialog which aims to stop violence and to encourage reconciliation, and trust needs to be built.