Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke wants the West Papuan issue raised with Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid when he visits here this week.
“We should press for greater dialogue between the Indonesian government and the Papuan independence leaders,” said Mr Locke.
“New Zealand’s initiative in Bougainville led to a peace settlement there, and an agreement on political autonomy.
“We can be an honest broker again, this time in relation to West Papua. Unless some progress towards autonomy is made quickly, violence between the West Papuans and the Indonesian troops could spiral out of control.”
Mr Locke said President Wahid’s visit was an opportunity to petition for the release of Theys Eluay, chairman of the Papuan Presidium Council, and other West Papuan leaders currently held on charges of subversion.
“The Government should also express New Zealand’s concern at Indonesia’s failure to bring to trial any of those Indonesian officers responsible for the killing and devastation in East Timor.
“We should give Mr Wahid every support in bringing the Indonesian military under civilian control,” said Mr Locke.
Keith Locke MP: 025 528 353
Gina Dempster, press secretary: (04) 470 6723