JAKARTA, Indonesia (December 7, 2000 – Detik World/Kabar-Irian)---President Abdurrahman Wahid has given the green light for the establishment of a commission to pursue a dialogue between the Indonesian government and the people of Papua.

In addition, Papuans have urged Jakarta to establish a working committee to discuss the Special Autonomy Bill for the resource rich province that shares the island of New Guinea with independent Papua New Guinea.

The government’s approval to establish the commission was conveyed by Papua’s religious leader, Karel Phil Erari, at the end of a meeting with President Wahid at Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta.

"The strategy (to establish the commission) is one solution to solve problems in Papua," said Karel.

Karel, who claims to represent the Papuan people, has appealed for imposition of Melanesian culture, Christian influence, as well as human rights.

He also said that Papuans are specifically demanding the name of Papua as an official name for this eastern most province of Indonesia.

The name Papua was changed to Irian Jaya during a transfer from Dutch to Indonesian rule after the so-called UN sponsored Act of Free Will in 1963.

Karel also stressed the negative effects of an ongoing military approach implemented in Papua to curb the secessionist movement. He said the approach has created psychological pressure that could easily incite conflict between Papua’s indigenous people and security personnel. It could also spark conflict between indigenous people and settlers, he said.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News") Websites: http://www.irja.org/index2.shtml and http://www.kabar-irian.com 

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