GROUP SAYS SPLIT PAPUA WOULD BENEFIT SUKARNOPUTRI

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 25) - A spokesperson for
the International Crisis Group in Jakarta says Indonesia may split Papua
province into three despite widespread opposition, because it will benefit
Megawati Sukarnoputri in next year’s election.

Sidney Jones says there has been a definite escalation in
tension in the province.

Her comments came as dozens of Papuans protested in Jakarta over
a range of grievances, including the light sentences given the killers of the
pro-independence leader Theys Eluay.

Jones says a statement from the army chief of staff that the
killers were heroes has caused incredible anger among Papuans.

Jones says tensions are on the rise and the Government’s
commitment to splitting the province in three is not helping.

"They may even try to put it into force before the 2004
elections. If they do that it will create even greater tensions than already
exist now. On the other hand, if they do it before the 2004 elections Megawati's
party will benefit substantially."

Jones says this is because Megawati’s party would be assured
of the support of the new provinces.

April 25, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com 

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