12 Apr 2003

Indonesian group expects delay in government plan to restructure Papua province

9:23 am on 12 April 2003

Indonesia's spokesperson for the International Crisis Group is predicting the Government will delay proceeding with plans to split Papua province until after next year's elections.

Sidney Jones says the President's January instruction to split the province, could spark more violence in the province.

She agrees with the independence movement claim that the decree is a divide and rule exercise, and also says it undermines moderates in Papua who had been trying to make the special autonomy laws work.

Ms Jones says a team from the Ministry of Home Affairs has been in Papua over the past week, and she expects it will recommend the implementation of the plan is delayed.

"They were supposed to be there in order to figure out the mechanisms for implementing this action. But they couldn't have been there and talked to very many people without getting a sense that this is actually going to create far more problems than it will solve. My guess is that it's going to be delayed until after the 2004 elections"