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JAKARTA, Indonesia (August 7, 2000 – Jakarta Post/Kabar Irian)---Four South Korean companies signed a memorandum of understanding with Irian Jaya authorities on Friday for the construction of a US$ 1.7 billion road stretching from Jayapura to Wamena.

The deal was signed in the capital, Jakarta, by representatives of the Korean companies -- Initiative Co. Ltd., Dong Ah Co. Ltd., Tong Woo Co. Ltd. and Chong Buk Co. Ltd. -- and the Irian Jaya provincial administration and the Irianese Council.

The cost covers land clearance and construction for the road linking the provincial capital city in the northeast to the main town in the Baliem Valley.

Irian Jaya Deputy Governor JRG Djopari, who signed the agreement on behalf of the government, said the consortium would be repaid partly from the sale of timber obtained from land clearing activities for the road.

Surveying will begin later this month and construction is expected to start in January.

The road is estimated to be finished in 15 years, he said.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") Website: http://www.irja.org/ 

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