He made the statement after Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander General Andika Perkasa paid him a courtesy call on Thursday.
On the ministry's official Youtube channel that ANTARA accessed from Jakarta, Mahfud highlighted the importance of adopting a "new approach" for addressing Papua issues.
"The approach is basically related to prosperity development that is implemented comprehensively and synergistically," he said, adding that it is not linked to "weapons", but "prosperity".
The technical approach is, therefore, focused on territorial operations instead of combat operations, the minister said. General Perkasa elaborated his perspectives and ideas on the new approach during the meeting, he added.
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Mahfud said he also discussed grave human rights violations involving the TNI with General Perkasa during the meeting.
One of the human rights violations was the Paniai case reported in July this year, he said, adding that for resolving the case, the TNI commander will coordinate with his ministry.
Meanwhile, General Perkasa did not elaborate on his ideas for handling Papua issues but promised to take them up during his working visit to Papua province next week.
General Perkasa was sworn in by President Joko Widodo as the TNI commander on November 17, 2021 in place of Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who has reached the retirement age of 58, on November 8, 2021.
Papua issues will be a challenge during Perkasa's leadership as armed conflicts are still occurring in Papua and West Papua though the central and regional governments are making the utmost efforts to improve the welfare of local communities by intensifying regional development.
Papua has borne witness to a spate of violence against civilians and security personnel in the past few years.
Intan Jaya recorded its bloodiest month in September 2020, with notorious armed groups launching a series of attacks that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and left two others injured.
The armed groups have continued their acts of terror this year, too.
On April 25, 2021, Papuan separatists, operating in Beoga, ambushed State Intelligence Agency (Papua) chief I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha and several security personnel during their visit to Dambet village.
Nugraha died of gunshot wounds.
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