Papua still part of Indonesia : minister

Papua is part of Indonesia and we will defend it,"
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Papua and West Papua provinces are still part of Indonesia, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said here on Tuesday.

"Papua is part of Indonesia and we will defend it," said the minister in response to a rally and conference held in England recently about support for the discourse for the two provinces to hold a referendum and dissociate themselves from Indonesia.

According to available information, the conference and rally were held in Oxford, England, by a group calling itself International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP). The conference was themed "West Papua : The Road to Freedom".

Djoko said the government would maintain the economic approach to boost development in Papua. "Our focus is on developing Papua`s economy," he said.

Meanwhile, thousands of people grouped in the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) were in the morning gathering in the Expo area of Wamena, Abepura. They were planning to visit the Regional Legislative Assembly (DPRD) building in Papua to hold a rally and deliver their demand.

The demonstrators who are led by the KNPB chairman, Mako Tabuni, carried banners which among others read "We Want Referendum."

As a result of the gathering, most shopping complexes in Abepura, Jaya Pura, were closed to anticipate undesired happenings.

Police personnel with anti-riot gear were seen standing guard in certain corners.

It caused traffic jams, particularly in the Abepura - Sentani sections which connected the area with Sentani airport.

Until middy, the demonstrators were still gathering and waiting for their colleagues who would arrive from Sentani, Jayapura district and Keerom district.(*)