One of the founders and leading figures of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), Nicolas Jouwe, is visiting Indonesia for a meeting with Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie on Friday to help ending more than 40 years of hostility between the country and the separatist group.
“He had refused to meet with Indonesian officials for dozens of years… But, finally, he is willing to come to Indonesia. He even said he wanted to be President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s adviser for Papua matters,” Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands J.E. “Fany” Habibie said in a press conference here Thursday.
According to Fany, Nicolas changed his stance after their meeting in the Netherlands, in which they were engaged in light and serious talks, and even shared jokes and exchanged quatrains in Ambonese.
“Nicolas will ask the Indonesian central government to impose sanctions on local state officials embezzling Papua special autonomy funds. He will also call OPM activists to cease their separatist movement and maintain integration with Indonesia,” Fany said.
The ambassador added, however, this seemingly significant step toward peace was still fragile, and warned that the Indonesian government should handle the matter very carefully.
Fany held his meeting with Nicolas in late February, following the sending of an Indonesian delegation to lobby the separatist leader. The President, he said, instructed the delegation sending because of military operations’ failures to oppress the separatist movement.