4 Jul 2007

American Samoa's Congressman not allowed to visit Papua says Indonesian official

7:53 am on 4 July 2007

The Indonesian government says it will not allow American Samoa's Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin to visit Papua because his presence in the province could encourage violence.

Indonesia's Foreign Ministry director general for European and American affairs, Eddhi Hariyadhi, says that although Indonesia had no issues with Faleomavaega or his desire to go the province, it had decided that it was not the right time for him to go there.

Mr Hariyadhi told The Jakarta Post that the visit will also be exploited by certain groups to create riots.

The Jakarta Post reports that the U.S. Congressman arrived in Jakarta yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Papuan Traditional Council announced that more than 500 representatives from 250 tribes in Papua and West Papua would attend its second conference which started yesterday and ends on Friday in Jayapura, Papua's capital.

Reports says that Faleomavaega was planning to attend the conference.

Faleomavaega, a staunch supporter of Papuan independence, sponsored in 2005 a bill asking the U.S. government to review its recognition of Papua as part of Indonesia.