Jakarta – The Foreign Ministry will set up a special desk or working group to handle the Papua issue and to improve the country's engagement with its easternmost province.
The head of the Foreign Ministry's policy development and studies center, Darmansyah Djumala, said that the establishment of a Papua desk was recommended in a meeting between the ministry and heads of Indonesian representative offices abroad, in Jakarta on Thursday.
"Regarding the issue of the country's sovereignty, the meeting recommended the Papua desk's establishment. The ministry will set up a special working group to handle developments and issues relating to Papua," he said after the meeting.
According to him, the special desk will be tasked with screening and distributing information on all developments in the province. "Because we know that too much news on Papua released overseas is really inaccurate," he said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Regarding the increasing number of Papuan separatist figures overseas, Darmansyah said that with the working group's establishment, the government should change its perspective on Papua and had to promote its engagement with Papuan people.
"The solution is to have [government] engagement. We can no longer deploy the [current] approach of having distance. We have to be engaged. We have to be engaged with all public opinion-building groups such as media, politicians, social leaders and even Papuan separatist groups," he said.
Darmansyah added that Indonesia's foreign policy should also be aimed at enhancing ties with Pacific Island countries.
"The meeting also recommends the establishment of a Melanesian cultural center to win Melanesian countries' support for Papuan integration with Indonesia," he said. (rms)