WEST PAPUA SITUATION WILL WORSEN, SAYS MELANESIAN SOLIDARITY ACTIVIST

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 1, 2000 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Human rights lawyer and Melanesian Solidarity (MELSOL) activist Powes Parkop has warned that the current situation in West Papua will soon erupt into a more explosive and bloodier war than East Timor.

The Papua New Guinea government must deal with the West Papua issue with urgency and honesty, he said.

Mr. Parkop was referring to a statement by Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta last month about his concerns on regional security. Sir Mekere stressed that Papua New Guinea regarded West Papua as an integral part of Indonesia and he would be emphasizing PNG's position to his Australian counterpart Prime Minister John Howard when they met in Sydney.

Mr. Parkop told The National that the position by the government was despicable and is a continuation of the policy of previous governments of sweeping the West Papua issue "under the carpet".

He said: "The government may continuously try to bury the West Papuan issue but everyone knows that it will not go away. West Papuans have unanimously called for independence and nothing will stop them. The long term solution is to facilitate the will of the people instead of turning a blind eye."

Mr. Parkop said that regional security would never be guaranteed until the West Papua issue was addressed sincerely.

"Long term security of the region will be better guaranteed if the West Papua issue is put on the negotiating table and addressed to the satisfaction of the West Papuan people," he said.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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