Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP) of the House of Representatives (DPR) held a meeting with delegates from the Papua New Guinean Parliament in Bali on Monday.

The meeting was organized as part of efforts toward cultural diplomacy, BKSAP Deputy Chair Putu Supadma Rudana said.

"The meeting was a cultural talk and cultural lunch, as the roles of social and culture are essential to strengthen diplomacy," Rudana said in a statement received here on Tuesday.

Soft diplomacy through social and cultural approaches allows nations to bond with each other easily, he noted, saying that his side decided to receive the Papua New Guinean delegates, who were led by Papua New Guinean Parliament acting speaker Johnson Wapunai, at Rudana Museum in Bali.

The bilateral meeting at an art museum was expected to help delegates get a new perspective and outlook on the power of diplomacy in contrast to the usual formal discussions or meetings, he explained.

The BKSAP deputy chair said that one of the topics discussed during his meeting with Wapunai in Bali was the proposed construction of a statue dedicated to Papua New Guinea’s founding father, Sir Michael Somare.

"Sir Michael Somare is (Papua New Guinea's) grand chief and the longest-serving prime minister for 17 years. They planned to place the statue at the Papua New Guinean Parliament ground," Rudana informed.

He then asked the Indonesian government and DPR to help Papua New Guinea construct the statue to further bolster the close bilateral relations between the countries.

"We hope our parliament speaker and the government will act. Our contributions may not be full, but if we can, we should assist them, so they will always remember (the statue) is presented by the Indonesian people," he said.

He also expressed the hope that bilateral relations between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea will be stronger, its people will respect each other, and Indonesia's territorial integrity will be maintained.

"Therefore, the disintegration threats we are facing, particularly in Papua, can be resolved permanently, and Papua will always be part of our Indonesian motherland," he said.

Besides Rudana, BKSAP Chair Fadli Zon, BKSAP Deputy Chairpersons Achmad Hafisz Tohir and Gilang Dhielafararez, and other BKSAP members attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Wapunai was accompanied by Papua New Guinean Ambassador to Indonesia, Simon Namis, Parliamentary Secretary General Kala Aufa, and local artists.

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Translator: Melalusa SK, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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