Indonesia forms special task force for Papua issues

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 5, 2015
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A senior official at Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Thursday the government has decided to form a special task force to preserve the nation's sovereignty and promote integration of the conflict-ridden province of Papua.

The task force will ultimately be tasked to manage information related to the new developments in the easternmost province by carrying out engagement with relevant personnel.

"We have to engage, or approach all instruments involved in the spread of information (about Papua), including politicians, media and groups affiliated with separatist organizations," head of Policy Analysis and Development Agency at the ministry, Darmansjah Djumala, said on the sidelines of a coordination meeting attended by Indonesian diplomats serving overseas.

Darmansjah said the task force would advocate Indonesia's policies in the province and study the responses after the policies were applied in the field.

He added that Indonesian diplomats were told to be responsive on movements sponsored by Papua separatist groups in countries they are serving in.

Darmansjah said that the task force's process of engagement would initially be conducted in Pacific countries, aimed at gaining empathy for Indonesia on Papua affairs from the region.

A Melanesian Culture Center would also be constructed to facilitate the aim, he said.

Independence Papua Organization (OPM), a Papua separatist group, has launched extensive campaigns to advocate secession of the oil- and mineral-rich province from Indonesia. It set up an representative office in Oxford, Britain in 2013.

Papua, Indonesia's largest and easternmost province, saw several deadly armed conflicts between separatist groups and security personnel that left casualties among them and civilians.

Indonesia gained sovereignty over Papua in 1969. Endi

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