Nobel laureate Ramos-Horta urges Indonesia-Papua dialogue

DILI, East Timor (AP) — Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta has urged Indonesia’s government to hold talks with the Papuan independence movement to help end a decades-long insurgency in the country’s easternmost region.

Ramos-Horta, joint recipient of the 1996 Nobel prize for efforts to bring independence and peace to East Timor, which suffered a brutal Indonesian occupation for nearly a quarter century, said in an interview last week that he believes the Papua region’s future is within Indonesia, not as a separate state.

The conflict between Indonesia and the rebels, who number perhaps just several hundred, flared again last month when armed separatists in Nduga killed at least 17 people working on a trans-Papua highway construction site that’s a key part of President Joko Widodo’s efforts to bring development to the impoverished region.

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