Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has told media he is prepared to meet West Papuan pro-independence groups to discuss problems in Papua.
Viva News reports that President Widodo, known as Jokowi, indicated he was willing to meet anyone to discuss important issues in his country.
Papua region has been gripped by weeks of protests, a security forces crackdown and violent unrest which has left over 40 people dead, according to authorities.
The proposal to meet pro-independence groups was put forward by representatives of the Papua and West Papua regional legislature
The representatives made the proposal when meeting with President Jokowi’s Chief of Staff, Moeldoko, and Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo.
While the president did not single out groups to meet, Papuan representatives have suggested the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and the West Papua National Committee.
The Chairperson of the Maybrat Regency Parliament in West Papua, Ferdinando Solossa, made the suggestion at the Presidential Palace complex in Jakarta.
Both the Liberation Movement and the Committee are pro-independence organisations calling for West Papuans to be granted an independence referendum.
Last week, Detik News reported that Moeldoko said that he would himself be willing to meet with the government’s opponents in Papua, and even mentioned the Liberation Movement’s leader, Benny Wenda.
Moeldoko said he was willing to meet Mr Wenda in the interest of finding solutions to the ongoing problems in Papua.
The chief of staff was responding after meeting with Mr Solossa last week, with the Papuan representative emphasising that dialogue should involve an independent, neutral and objective third party in resolving the roots of political problems.