Wahid to give West Papua its freedom if re-elected Indonesia's President
PNG's The National newspaper Posted Feb 26, 2003 11:54 AM
Wahid to free West Papua if returned
FORMER Indonesian President Abdul Rahman Wahid has promised to go by the wishes of the people of West Papua on their political future and give them independence if he returned to power.
Mr Wahid said if he wins next year’s general elections, he would give West Papua its independence if that is the wish of the majority of West Papuans, through a referendum.
He was speaking in Seoul, South Korea, last week while receiving a honorary doctorate in Political Science from the Sun Moon University.
Mr Wahid and former President of Belarus, Mr Stanislau Shushkevich were conferred with honorary doctorates for their efforts towards peace in their respective regions and the world.
Mr Wahid told our man, John Apami, who attended a World Summit on leadership and governance in Seoul that it is up to the people of Indonesia to return him to power.
Mr Wahid, who gave the green light for East Timorese independence, said he would do the same for West Papua if they wanted it.
Mr Wahid and East Timor Foreign Minister Dr Jose Ramos Horta were both at the conference sponsored by the Inter-religious and International Federation on World Peace, at the Lotte hotel.
Speaking at the centre, they both said open dialogue and understanding the wishes of the people were important.
Dr Horta said he was thankful that Indonesia understood this struggle and gave his country the right to decide.
“If Indonesian leadership at that time led by Mr Wahid had not understood us, we would not have gained independence,” he said.
Meanwhile, West Papua National Congress Chairman Michael Kareth has called on the Government of Papua New Guinea to be mindful of the human rights violations and the freedom fighters of Operesi Merdeka Papua (OPM).
Mr Kareth, in a statement yesterday, said this following news that the PNG Government has given directions for troops to clean up the hideouts of the OPM along the PNG side of the border.
He said that they have been victimized, chased and neglected by the United Nations since 1969.