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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (September 18, 1998 - Antara/Kabar Irian/Irian News)--- The Forestry and Plantation Ministry has approved a plan to declare the Lorentz National Park in Indonesia's easternmost province of Irian Jaya as a World Heritage Site, a local environmentalist organization official said here Thursday.

The ministry was also calling on the public everywhere to conserve the area which is endowed with one of the rarest ecosystems in the world, said August Rumansara, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) coordinator for Eastern Indonesia. The Irian Jaya governor, local customary institute leaders, church leaders, NGO activists and the press had thrown their weight behind the plan, he said.

He said the ministry's seal of approval on the plan was announced in Jakarta on September 9 in the presence of President B.J. Habibie, UNESCO representatives and a number of NGO activists.

Lorentz is the third national park in Indonesia which UNESCO has declared a World Heritage Site. The first two were the Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java and the Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara.

Asked about the plan by two foreign companies -- PT Nabire Bakti Mining and PT Mimika Montaque -- to conduct mining explorations in the Lorentz National Park, he said the park's management had asked the Forestry and Plantation Ministry to reject the plan.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") For additonal information: E-mail (auto-responder) or

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