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Jan '07

U.S. to help RI with Papua special autonomy

The United States supports the Indonesian government’s implementation of special autonomy in Papua, U.S. Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe said in Jayapura on Tuesday.

He said his government continues to regard Papua as part of Indonesia despite separatist rebels’ demands for independence.

“The U.S. government position remains the same, from the past and in the future, which is supporting the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, and special autonomy is the best solution for Papua’s problems,” Pascoe told reporters at a press conference.

The ambassador (far right in photo), who was on a three-day visit to Papua, said he was happy to observe the developing implementation of special autonomy, as well as the recent peaceful direct election to pick the province’s governor.

Special autonomy was introduced 2001 but has been criticized for failing to improve the lives of Papuans, many of whom live in poverty despite the annual influx of funds to regional administrations.

Pascoe said his government would cooperate with the provincial administration to help Papua in areas such as education, healthcare and forestry. The aid would consist of funds, training and other assistance, he said.

The ambassador visited a community health center in North Jayapura where he listened to a presentation from Papua health office head Tigor Silaban on the HIV/AIDS problem in the province.

Sumber : (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba) The Jakarta Post (cached) & Acheh Eye

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