WEST PAPUANS SEEK RECOGNITION

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 6, 1999 – Post Courier)---The people of West Papua have called on the Government of Indonesia to recognize December 1 as their National Day and grant them "absolute rights."

In a letter addressed to President BJ Habibie recently, the West Papua Implementary Independent Committee (WPIIC) said the appeal was in reference to the National Dialogue between the Republic of Indonesia and the Team 100 Delegation held at the Independence Palace in Jakarta on February 26.

The delegation was selected from all regions of West Papua.

WPIIC representatives in PNG, Paul Masta and Constant Nere, said the meeting was initiated by the Indonesian government.

Mr. Masta and Mr. Nere said to President Habibie that all their people's views, in their struggle for independence in PNG and abroad, were represented by the WPIIC.

They said the people of West Papua originally proclaimed sovereignty on December 1, 1961, and stood firm on that date.

They told President Habibie that on December 1 the West Papuan flag should be raised and flown with the Indonesian flag on Papuan soil as a mark of peace between the people of West Papua and the Indonesian Government.

This, they said, would allow for both parties to work together to achieve an amicable solution to West Papua’s political status.

Mr. Masta and Mr. Nere said the WPIIC was also seeking the release of all West Papuan political prisoners held by the Indonesian government.

They have appealed strongly to Mr. Habibie that their proposal be submitted to the General Assembly of the Peoples Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia during its session this month.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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