Jokowi expected to resolve Papuan problems through dialogue: Priest

Jokowi expected to resolve Papuan problems through dialogue: Priest

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - A Papuan priest has called on incumbent President Joko Widodo to hold a dialogue with the representatives of all Papuan community groups to find solutions to crucial problems in the province after he is sworn in as Indonesia's president on October 20, 2019.

The Papuan people are keen to have a discussion within the spirit of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia as the central government had done in Aceh Province, said Esmon Welilo, a priest who is also chairman of the Interreligious Harmony Forum (FKUB).

"We do hope that the dialogue can be held during his second leadership term," he told ANTARA in Jayapura, the capital city of Papua Province, on Thursday.

Esmon Welilo said Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is the first Indonesian president who has made 12 working visits to the Papua Province, including three times to Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District.

Under Jokowi's leadership, it is time for the central government to hold a dialogue to seek comprehensive solutions to the problems in Papua, he said, adding that he believed that all the Papuan people would keep supporting the government's programs.

The call for holding a dialogue with President Jokowi had been echoed by West Papua Governor, Dominggus Mandacan, on September 12, 2019.

Mandacan said he awaited the president's readiness to meet West Papua's local leaders of various ethnic groups to listen to and comprehend their aspirations following the recent Surabaya incident that infuriated native Papuans.

Over these past two months, a spate of violence broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the upshot of the Surabaya incident and fake news that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

On August 28, violence broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, resulting in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.

Protests were again held on August 29 by the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura, as they vented their ire over the alleged racist behavior against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.

On September 23, a deadly riot had erupted in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, killing 33 civilians, including a senior medical doctor, who had served the native Papuans for 15 years. Related news: Jokowi confirms total evaluation of Papua's special autonomy status
Related news: Jokowi ensures Papuan representation in subsequent cabinet line-up


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