President Joko Widodo arrives in Papua

Merauke, Papua (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana arrived at Mopah airport in Merauke, Papua on Tuesday evening to visit Indonesias eastern provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The president and his entourage, including minister of public works and housing Basuki Hadimoeljono, presidential chief of staff Teten Masduki, and presidential communication team member Sukardi Rinakit, left Jakartas Halim Perdanakusumah airport at 13.40pm and arrived at Meraukes airport at 20.20pm aboard the presidential plane.

According to the head of the Press, Media and Information Bureau of the Presidential Secretariat, President Joko Widodo will not only visit Merauke, but also Wamena and Sorong, before ending 2015 at Raja Ampat.

After attending an "Indonesias Dreams for 2015-2085" event in Hasanap Sai field in Merauke, the president and his entourage will travel to Wamena by plane, where he will dedicate new terminals at Wamena and Kaimana and meet with the people of Jayawijaya.

On Thursday he will proceed to Sorong and Raja Ampat. Before returning to Jakarta on Friday, January 1, he will visit a local sago factory.

This was the third visit to Papua and West Papua made by the President, following his first visit to the eastern provinces from December 27-29, 2014 and the second visit from May 8-11, 2015.

President Jokowi, as he is also called, has said he believed that by frequently visiting the region, conflicts in Papua would be settled.

"I will often visit Papua," he said at Waringin Sports Stadium in Jayapura on December 27, 2014.

Before visiting Papua, the President had visited several other provinces, including South Sulawesi, East Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara, to inspect infrastructure development in the regions.

The visits are evidence that Indonesia is now leaving Java-centered orientation and turning to an Indonesia-centered vision, as President Jokowi said at the Heroes Day in Surabaya on November 10, 2015.

"Indonesia is moving towards an Indonesia-centered and not Java-centered vision. Prosperity will not happen only in Java," he said at the time.

reporting by agus salim