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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 11, 2000 – The National/Kabar Irian)---About 700 refugees living at the East Awin camp in Kiunga, Western province, will be repatriated to their home villages in the Indonesian province of West Papua at the end of this month.

The project is expected to take place in Kiunga and will be witnessed by officials from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees regional office in Canberra, Australia, and the Indonesian Embassy in Port Moresby.

Provincial and Local Government Affairs Secretary Leo Meninga said this week that the department has organized with a local third level airline, MAF, to transport these 700 returnees to four different locations in West Papua, namely, Jayapura, Kiwirok, Oksibil, and Wamena.

Mr. Meninga said the Indonesian Government has given permission for PNG journalists and television crew personnel to accompany these repatriation flights to West Papua to report on the exercise.

This is the third, and by far the biggest, voluntary repatriation exercise of West Papuan refugees so far this year.

The Indonesian Embassy confirmed the repatriation yesterday, saying that it was awaiting confirmation from Jayapura for the exercise to start on Thursday, August 31.

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

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

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