Benny Wenda Says Ready to Talk with Jokowi over Papua

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Benny Wenda, said he is ready to discuss with President Joko Jokowi Widodo over Papua and West Papua issues. Benny recently declared himself as the interim president of the provisional government of West Papua.

    “I am ready to sit down with President Widodo, state-to-state, and agree on a process for ending this conflict once and for all, through an internationally-mediated mechanism,” said Benny in a written statement received by Tempo on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020.

    Benny stated that West Papuan must decide and his side is willing to work on agreements for an independence referendum. 

    He further noted that there is no time for military operations in Papua and demanded the Indonesian government open access for the UN High Commissioners to visit and observe the situation in Papua.

    “President (Jokowi) must end martial law in West Papua and sit down to talk about this issue,” Benny said.

    The ULMWP on December 1, 2020, declared a provisional government within Indonesia's sovereign territory, aiming to mobilize people in West Papua and Papua. Benny who claimed himself as the interim president said the goal was to realize a referendum towards independence.

    Indonesia rejected Benny Wenda’s declaration. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud Md, considered the maneuver as treason.

    Read: Benny Wenda's West Papua Declaration; MPR: Govt Must Summon British Ambassador

    EGI ADYATAMA