Michael Bachelard – Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo has promised to build a presidential palace on the shores of West Papua's picturesque Lake Sentani as a sign he will pay more attention to the resource-rich but troubled region.
The plan, which includes regular meetings for dialogue with Papuan leaders, has met a mixed reception from senior local figures.
A low-level armed separatist movement has racked West Papua since the 1960s, prompting a huge security presence in the province. Foreign journalists are virtually banned from going there, ostensibly for security reasons, and rampant corruption and discrimination impoverishes the Melanesian-Christian ethnic majority.
Outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono only visited the province three times in his 10 years in power – the third time late last week.
But there has been much optimism about Mr Joko, who travelled to West Papua twice during Indonesia's election season and said of access for foreign journalists: "Why not? It's safe here in Papua. There's nothing to hide."
In early August, Mr Joko, known as Jokowi, called a meeting with about 30 Papuan politicians and religious leaders and laid out a plan designed to increase dialogue and contact between the capital and Indonesia's easternmost province. John Djonga, a Christian leader from the remote highlands capital of Wamena, said after the meeting: "We have very strong hopes for Jokowi."
Mr Joko told the group the construction of a new presidential palace on the lakeside near the West Papuan capital, Jayapura, would "symbolise the presence of the central government in Papua", Reverend Djonga said.
Mr Joko also committed to dialogue with West Papuan leaders every three months involving either himself or key team members. Ongoing talks over self-determination and economic disadvantage has long been a goal of West Papua's leaders, who fear that poverty and mass migration from other parts of Indonesia, are steadily erasing Melanesian culture.
Reverend Djonga said the pressing issues in the region were health, education, infrastructure and official corruption, which was "worse than in Java" and which saw wastage of much of the money the central government sends to the region.
Papuan leaders have also told Mr Joko they want a better deal out of the massive, American-owned Freeport gold and copper mine, Indonesia's biggest single taxpayer. They want more money, a headquarters in Jayapura, not in Jakarta, and for long-standing grievances, including killings allegedly relating to the mine's operations, to be investigated.
Mr Joko did not talk politics or separatism with the group, but Reverend Djonga said: "If there is really concrete change in the society, if the situation improves, then even the hard-line [separatists] may soften."
Reverend Djonga said most of the people in the meeting were part of a "grey group" who were, "in their heart", separatists. But "they looked happy" with Mr Joko's commitments.
The new president, though, will need to overcome significant suspicion. "My experience of Indonesian politicians is that any program made for Papua makes no difference – that is, it creates more suffering," Reverend Djonga said.
The leader of the province's Baptist churches, Socratez Yoman, said solving problems in Papua would mean "long talking, long mediation". "Jokowi will not solve the West Papua case in the short term if he spends two or three days there," said Reverend Yoman, who was not at the August meeting. "We need a long process, involving all stakeholders, all parties."
That would mean withdrawing Jakarta's troops and police, stopping migration from other parts of Indonesia, freeing dozens of political prisoners and inviting exiled activists home.
"All people have to be involved, not partially, but comprehensively, seriously," Reverend Yoman said. "We are discussing the future of Papuans on their own land. The reality today is the Papuans have become marginalised economically, educationally, housing... like they became foreigners. This is negative progress."