Commemoration of ‘Papuan Independence Day’- 104 reportedly arrested, at least 20 with treason

Published Monday 2nd December 2019, 22:47

Reports by human rights defenders and media articles mention a total of 104 arrests in multiple locations across West Papua. The arrests occurred in relation to commemorations of 1st December, which many indigenous Papuans regard as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. This year marks the 58th anniversary of the first official Morning Star flag raising under the Dutch colonial government. In Jayapura, the police summoned two leaders of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Markus Haluk and Edison Waromi. At least twenty arrestees were charged with treason.

Eight Papuans arrested in Manokwari

On 27 November 2019, the local police arrested eight indigenous Papuans on their way the Borasi Field in the city of Manokwari, where they wanted to participate in a peaceful political demonstration. They were taken into custody and are currently under investigation at the Manokwari District Police Station (Polres Manokwari). According to local media outlet Jubi, the police seized 29 Morningstar flags, posters, leaflets and two cars. The detainees stated that they had received leaflets calling for a peaceful demonstration at the Borasi field.

Four KNPB supporters arrested in Merauke

Police officers arrested four supporters of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) on 2 December 2019 in the Papuan town of Merauke. Police suspects that the four men sprayed Morningstar symbols on public buildings in various locations in Merauke. All four arrestees were allowed to leave the police station after officers had questioned them and seized several of their pro-independence attributes.

Police summons ULMWP leaders

The police summoned ULMWP Executive Director, Markus Haluk, and ULMWP Executive Chairman, Edison Waromi, in relation to a leaflet calling for a worship ceremony in commemoration of 1st December. Mr. Haluk and Mr. Waromi, together with a team of lawyers, came to Jayapura Municipality (Polresta Jayapura) police station on 30 November where they were questioned for several hours. The leaflet showed the names and electronic signatures of both ULMWP leaders. However, Markus Haluk and Edison Waromi claim that they neither made the leaflets, nor authorised them with their signatures. The police requested Markus Haluk to return to the police station on 1 December 2019 for further questioning. So far, the police has not pressed charges against the ULMWP leaders.

Police arrests four students in Jayapura after bringing morning star flag to Church

Police officers arrested the four Papuan students Marvin Yobe, Desepianus Dumupa, Paul Halapok and Devion Tekege on 1 December 2019 at the Gembala Baik Congregational Church in Abepura, Jayapura Town. The students brought Morningstar flags to the Sunday worship. They wore traditional clothes with morning star face paint. Plain cloth police officers arrested the four students during the worship ceremony and subsequently brought them to the Abepura sectoral police station and later to the Jayapura municipality police station, where the students were questioned (see intro image). They were released without charges on 2 December 2019 at 1.00 am. The police also summoned the pastor of Gembala Baik Congregation as a witness.

34 Papuans arrested in Sentani – 20 charged with treason

On 30 November 2019, police officers arrested 34 indigenous Papuans in Sentani, Jayapura Regency, on their way to the Trikora field, where they allegedly intended to raise the Morning Star flag. Fourteen of them were released because the police could not find sufficient evidence to press legal charges. The remaining 20 suspects were taken into custody. They have been charged with article 106 jo 87 and/or 110 jo 88 of Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason. Six of them were additionally charged with Article 2 (1) of Emergency Law12/1951 regarding illegal possession of slashing or stabbing weapons (see table below). The police claims that the 20 suspects carried member cards of the West Papua National Liberation Army.

54 Papuans arrested in Fakfak

We are a black nation in Melanesia West Papua and we are being colonized by Indonesia, now 58 years of colonial Indonesia have usurped our independence from 01 December 1961 and until 1 December 2019. This is evidence of torture that is always used by Indonesia. This photo was taken on December 1, 2019 in Fak-Fak West Papua when demanding independence
We are a black nation in Melanesia West Papua and we are being colonized by Indonesia, now 58 years of colonial Indonesia have usurped our independence from 01 December 1961 and until 1 December 2019. This is evidence of torture that is always used by Indonesia. This photo was taken on December 1, 2019 in Fak-Fak West Papua when demanding independence

Arrests Pikpik Fakfak editOn 1 December 2019, members of the Police Mobile Brigade Special Unit (Brimob) and 1803 Fakfak District Military Command arrested 54 indigenous Papuans in the districts Kayauni and Kramonmongga of Fakfak Regency. According to information received, the joint security forces applied force against 23 villagers in Warpa Village. The Head of the Fakfak District Police claimed in a public interview that the villagers allegedly resisted the arrest using traditional weapons like spears, bows and arrows. He further accused the suspects of planning to raise the Morning Star flag at the Regency office. It is currently not known what injuries the arrestees sustained during the arrest. The villagers had raised the Morning Star flag in their village around 3.00 pm. Subsequently, the joint security forces arrested one person in Kramongga Village and further suspects in the villages of Pikpik (see image on the right) and Mambuni-buni. The police seized morning star flags, 12 million rupiahs (about € 850) and machetes and other traditional weapons. All 54 Papuans were detained and are currently investigated by the police.

Article-http://www.humanrightspapua.org/…/517-commemoration-of-papu…

Warome raises West Papua Flag

By Len Garae Dec 2, 2019 Updated Dec 2, 2019. Vanuatu Daily Post

December 1, the Morning Star West Papua flag was hoisted next to the Vanuatu flag
December 1, the Morning Star West Papua flag was hoisted next to the Vanuatu flag 

Yesterday morning on December 1, the Morning Star West Papua flag was hoisted next to the Vanuatu flag by the Caretaker of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua Office, Freddy Warome, in full military uniform at Sea Front in Port Vila.

The Chairman of both Vanuatu Christian Council and Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Alain Nafuki, was on hand to bless the Flag and West Papua National Day December 1 before it was raised in the breezy sunshine, to flitter next to the Vanuatu Flag.

Meanwhile West Papua Leaders have confirmed to a handful of witnesses of the ceremony that reports have reached them of further shooting at one of the world’s largest open cast mines in West Papua.

They said the shooting was carried out by the West Papua Liberation Army. At this stage, it is still not clear if there were any casualties.

However latest report yesterday afternoon said several West Papua students who entered a university dressed in indigenous attire to mark December 1, were arrested by Indonesian Police.

No further information was available as the article was published.

West Papua Day was officially celebrated in the afternoon marked by a number of speakers from the Vanuatu Christian council, West Papua Committee and Chiefs and Civil society from three to five in the afternoon.

Pastor Nafuki said the purpose of the ceremony is to confirm to the world that while Vanuatu is a tiny country, it has remained steadfast in its commitment to West Papua Freedom since day one when their political plight was first brought to the country’s attention prior to the country’s freedom on July 30 of 1980.

With a population of approximately 3 million, the people of West Papua have been struggling for self-determination from colonialism for 58 years.

The struggle has reached the United Nations with support from approximately 90 countries Spearheaded by the World Council of Churches through the Pacific Council of Churches, Vanuatu Christian Council and Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and the Government of Vanuatu and its people.

The Morning Star (2019)

The Morning Star

The Morning Star 2019
The Morning Star 2019

There’s a bright and burning star in an equatorial sky,
And it burns for a people who’s day is yet to come,
It burns with a quite burning,
It burns with quite yearning.
And it burns to the beat of a Melanesian drum.

And the drumming tells a story of that people and it’s cry,
Of the darkness and the danger and of sacrifice,
Of the alien in the land,
Of the bloody alien hand,
And of dead and dying in that paradise.

Hills and valleys take up the call of scarred and battered land,
And the cry goes round the world for those with ear to hear,
And it tells of desecration,
And it calls for consecration,
And it tells of friends and neighbours who disappear.

But the dark secrets will be heard and the truth will have its way,
And all the children of West Papua will smile once more,
But the cross they love to wear,
Is a cross hard to bear,
In a land controlled by a strangers crushing law.

Morning Star Flag in Australia 1 December 2019

In solidarity with West Papuans today on Gumbaynggirr Country- Bellingen, Pacific Highway Australia

Flying the Morning Star Flag with lots of toots of support for a Free West Papua. People are learning the truth, it can not be hidden.

58th anniversary of what was supposed to be Independence for the people of West Papua.

As the Morning Star rises tomorrow in the skies it will bring another day closer to freedom.

West Papua we stand with you!

#PapuaMerdeka
#GlobalFlagRaising
#FreeWestPapua

West Papua freedom is “our responsibility”

“What I wish to stress is that fighting for freedom (for West Papua) is everyone’s business beginning with chiefs, church leaders, papas and mamas and young people especially since they have so much energy and power to do those things that their parents cannot do”.

Former Cabinet Minister and former politician, Hilda Lini is the sister of the once ‘Father of Independence’ and first ever Prime Minister of the newly born Republic of Vanuatu, Father Walter Lini, who led the country for the first eleven years after a joint colonial period of 74 years of statelessness.

The once outspoken political leader dared to contest political elections with her male counterparts and won fairly years before any thought of ‘reserve seat’.

Hilda Lini was invited to attend the West Papua Day on December 1 on the Sea Front and became one of the very few invited guests to attend.

While all West Papuan leaders as well as local speakers heartily thanked the Government and people of Vanuatu for their steadfast support towards the West Papua Struggle, no cabinet Ministers nor MPs were present in the ceremony.

Her presence was an assurance of the country’s continuing responsibility over West Papua after the hosting of the historic meeting of West Papuan factions in the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs Nakamal in 2014.

The Chairman of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Alain Nafuki said that meeting became the stepping stone to where west Papua is today after the formation of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua following that meeting.

“The Government went ahead to allocate land at Crow’s Nest to host the ULMWP Office”, he said.

Looking back at country’s struggle for freedom, Lini said Vanuatu’s struggle and its Unity Day on November 29 marking the hoisting of the Vanuaaku Pati flag to proclaim the formation of the People’s Provisional Government was similar to West Papua’s December 1 National Day.

“The only difference was that the West Papua people hoisted their own flag in 1961 so they started their struggle earlier than we did ours but we have achieved our freedom while they are still fighting to achieve theirs”, she noted.

“On July 30 of 1980 here at Independence Park, our first ever Prime Minister, Father Walter Lini, made this statement to all invited guests from near far including guests from West Papua saying, ‘Vanuatu has become an Independent Nation today but yet it is not completely free until every country that is fighting for freedom has achieved its freedom and only then will Vanuatu be completely free’.

“This is the biggest responsibility in our hands in Vanuatu today; little children, young people who were born after 1980, those who were born before 1980, papas, mamas, church leaders and chiefs and every one of us – all members of parliament and the Government, altogether we have this responsibility in our hands.

“While we rejoice for our freedom but we must not forget that we are not totally free until our brothers and sisters who are not far from us are totally free.

“This is our responsibility that is ahead of us and we must get involved to enable West Papua to be free, Kanaky and Tahiti and Wallis and Futuna must be free, while we stayed with East Timor (Timor Leste) until it achieved its freedom. The others are not yet free.

“My message to us the mamas is for us to stand firm at all times because in all situations, we have proved ourselves that we are capable so with all our people, let us stand in solidarity with West Papua until it achieves its independence.

Source: Vanuatu Daily Post

Pole jailed in Indonesia’s West Papua faces ‘declining health’

European diplomats step up pressure as they call on Jakarta to move Jakub Skrzypski to another facility pending appeal. by Tomasz Augustyniak29 Nov 2019

European diplomats are stepping up pressure on Indonesia to look into the case of a Polish man who has been jailed in its easternmost region for more than a year, amid reports of his declining health.

Jakub Skrzypski is the first foreigner to be found guilty of an attempt to overthrow the Indonesian government and imprisoned under Article 106 of the Indonesian criminal code.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in May. Since his arrest in West Papua in August 2018, he has been detained in the town of Wamena, one of the several places in the region that saw a wave of deadly violence in recent months.

Skrzypski has denied the allegations and is appealing his conviction.
Skrzypski has denied the allegations and is appealing his conviction.

As he awaits the result of his appeal, the European Union and the Polish government vowed to press Jakarta to resolve the issue.

Last week, EU Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket met Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly. On the agenda for the meeting was the Skrzypski case.

EU Spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said European diplomats asked Indonesia earlier this month to review the case and transfer the Polish man to Bandung, where he could receive visits from a representative of the Polish consulate.

In October, the European Parliament had referred to Skrzypski as a political prisoner and expressed concern over his continued incarceration, given the unrest in West Papua. It demanded his release and deportation to Poland.

Poland’s foreign ministry has claimed there were procedural mistakes during the court proceedings, and that the case’s connection to the current political situation in West Papua adds to its complexity.

Last week, a Polish embassy official visited Skrzypski and urged the government to apply international standards to his treatment.

Fair trial promised

Jacek Czaputowicz, Poland’s minister of foreign affairs, has met his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, three times since the arrest of Skrzypski.

Marsudi reportedly assured him that Skrzypski’s trial would be fair and the Polish consul in Jakarta would have free access to the detainee.

But Al Jazeera learned that it was not always the case, and several diplomatic notes regarding the Pole’s detention were reportedly ignored.

Skrzypski’s lawyer, Latifah Anum Siregar, told Al Jazeera that her client has long complained about conditions at the police detention centre where he is being kept instead of a prison facility.

Jakub Skrzypski - Poland - West Papua

Skrzypski, left, seen here with his Indonesian co-defendant Simon Magal, has denied the charges against him and called his trial a ‘sham’ [George Yewun/AP]

Latifah said Skrzypski has not been allowed out of his cell for walks and had not been seen by a doctor.

The lawyer, who is based in Papua’s provincial capital, Jayapura, and the Jakarta-based diplomats also have to deal with long hours of travel to reach Wamena.

While Skrzypski’s life is not under direct threat, locals who used to bring him food have left since violence erupted in the region.

In addition, there was nobody available to treat him when he suffered severe eye inflammation, as most doctors have also reportedly fled.

Caught in political turmoil

Skrzypski had been in Indonesia several times as a tourist, visiting West Papua to verify claims of human rights violations against ethnic Papuans.

In August 2018, he was travelling across the region, briefly crossing to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, when Indonesian police arrested him and accused him of joining the separatist West Papua National Liberation Army – an armed group Jakarta calls a terrorist organisation.

Initially, the police claimed to have evidence that he was involved in arms trading but the allegation was not raised during the trial.

Skrzypski rejected all the criminal charges but admitted to having met people who turned out to be the members of the National Committee for West Papua, which supports a non-violent approach to Papuan independence.

Latifah, his lawyer, said Skrzypski was merely visiting friends he met online and did not intend to join any organisation.

In May, Wamena district court found Skrzypski guilty and sentenced him to five years in prison. Local student Simon Magal, who met the Pole, was also jailed for four years.

Skrzypski rejected the verdict, saying all charges were trumped up and the trial was a sham, alleging the prosecution witnesses were bribed and that potential defence witnesses were also too frightened to testify.

Sham trial

Asked about Skrzypski’s case, Teuku Faizasyah, spokesperson for the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Al Jazeera that the ministry acted based on the notes and provided reply “when needed”.

Regarding the requested transfer, Teuku said it would only be possible when all the legal options were exhausted and the court’s decision had come into force.

“His rights have also been fulfilled and facilitated in respect of process law,” he added but did not comment on the security problems in Papua.

The Ministry of Law and Human Rights has not responded to Al Jazeera’s queries.

Authorities in Wamena have promised to provide the needed medical attention, but Febiana Wilma Sorbu, one of the prosecutors in charge of the case, refused to answer Al Jazeera’s questions on the conditions Skrzypski is being kept in.

Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said he has no doubt that the treatment of Skrzypski violates human rights under international and Indonesian law.

“Jakub Skrzypski has been unfortunately entangled in Indonesia’s paranoid bureaucracy.

“The longer his imprisonment continues, the more Indonesian machinery is making him to document the rotten prison cells, something that Indigenous Papuans are very familiar with,” Harsono said.

Latifah, Skrzypski’s lawyer, added: “This is a highly political case with extremely weak evidence.”

Evidence reportedly included photos of Skrzypski at a recreational shooting range in Switzerland and unconcluded Facebook conversations.

After the Papua High Court upheld the sentence in July, Skrzypski’s advocates appealed the case before the Supreme Court, asking for him to be acquitted of all the charges.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are seeking a tougher sentence.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

WPRA: Happy National Awakening Day!

In an official letter to West Papua Army (WPA), one of the Affiliated Command of the WPA, The West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA) Secretary-General I, Gen. Amunggut Tabi expresses National Greeting from the Central Defense Headquarters of the WPRA and says the struggle for West Papua independence is not ONLY beneficial to Melanesians in West Papua, but for all life on this planet Earth and the planet itself as New Guinea Island contribute significant oxygen to our life system.

Gen. Tabi also encourages Melanesians to re-claim collective identities of “Melanesian Peoples” socially, culturally, economically and politically, because Melanesian people are already one socially, culturally and geographically. He says modern political, economic and legal divides made by colonial powers make us all Melanesians think in their way of thinking, and feel in their way of feeling, looking at each other as if we are different from one another.

He says “it is colonial powers and governments want to see us separated and divided” because they want to come in and do everything they want, take away all our natural resources and destroy our planet Earth.”

Melanesians should not call ourselves West Papuans, Papua New Guineans, Solomon Islanders, Fijians, Bougainvilleans, New Caledonians, ni-Vanuatu, but we are Melanesian People in West Papua, in Papua New Guinea, in Fiji, in Bougainville, in Solomon Islands, in Vanuatu and in Kanaky.

Bougainville referendum: voting begins amid scenes of jubilation

People are ‘in the mood for celebration’ as they choose whether to split from Papua New Guinea

After 20 years, the big day has finally arrived for the people of Bougainville. Large crowds gathered on Saturday at the aptly named Bel Isi (Peace) park in Buka for the first day of a two-week referendum to decide whether the archipelago should become independent from Papua New Guinea.

Amid a significant security presence, hundreds of Bougainvilleans marched through the streets as they followed the autonomous region’s president, John Momis, as he arrived at a polling booth to cast his vote.

Momis, accompanied by his minister for Bougainville affairs, Sir Puka Temu, and the referendum commissioner, Ruby Mirinka, was the first to cast his vote.

Bougainville regional president John Momis waves as he arrives at a polling station in Buka on Saturday. Photograph: Ness Kerton/AFP via Getty Images
Bougainville regional president John Momis waves as he arrives at a polling station in Buka on Saturday. Photograph: Ness Kerton/AFP via Getty Images

The jubilant crowd cheered on as groups danced to the beat of bamboo pipes, singing songs of freedom that described the crisis of the past and a peace process that started at the end of the civil war 20 years ago and which paved the way for the referendum.

As he exited the polling booth after casting his vote, Momis waved to the crowd who replied with shouts of support as they waited for their turn to vote.

“It’s obvious that the people are now in the mood for celebration and I join them as they have every right to celebrate,” Momis told a media conference. “This is a forecast or beginning of good things to come if we collaborate and work as trusted partners to implement something that both parties have contributed to.”

With tears in her eyes, Justina Panu, a voter from Arawa, said that it was thrilling to watch her president vote. “We are excited and emotional,” she said.

Janet Chigoto, from Buin, waved her large Bougainville flag and said: “I am proud and happy. The time has come for us to vote for what we’ve been waiting for. Blood has poured on our island. We want our own powers to run our country so I am going for Box Two.”

“It’s a great moment for me,” said Barnabas Matanu from Buka. “It’s been long overdue and we’ve been waiting for years. We are enthusiastic and on cloud nine.”

Over the next two weeks, everyone over the age of 18 will have the option of requesting greater autonomy within Papua New Guinea, or full independence. Voting will take place in select towns and stations around the island of Buka and mainland Bougainville.

A young voter, Tanya Okia from Kieta, hoped that her generation would see a free and independent Bougainville. “Bougainville will rise. Myself and the other 365 youths here, we are all heading for number 2 box.”

“I will be putting my ballot in box 2,” said Moses Seropa from Arawa. “I want to see Bougainville become our own country, in my lifetime. I want to see us producing our own products. We have tons of natural resources, good lands and great farmers so we need to take ownership starting with this vote.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Powes Parkop on Bougainville Referendum: A Historical Day for Our Country

Source: Facebook.com

Bougainville has impacted our country in so many ways. Whether it was contributing to the economy, shaping of the constitution and system of governance, or the tragic years of conflict in 1988 to 1997 and in many other ways, Bougainville remains an integral part of PNG.

Today we enter another historical day for Bougainville and the rest of PNG. Whatever happens from here on will be historical, as it will impact our country and the history we shared. Despite the outcome, let us be comfortable with the fact that this nation of a thousand tribes is strong and it’s future is stronger because of this diversity. This is our strength and not our weakness. Diversity makes us stronger and we become better people and a better nation. It is not an easy Union but it’s an opportunity for us to build a greater nation and future.

Remember without Goliath, a mere Shepard boy with no skills and knowledge other than being a sherpard, could never be the King of Israel.

This massive fusion of our diverse nation of a thousand tribes and 860 languages into one prosperous nation is a mammoth task and our own Goliath. But it is also an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves to foster a respectful, tolerant and grateful country where we can all thrive together to build a prosperous future.

How wonderful it would be when we overcome all our stereotypes and inhibitions that we have against each other. It will be like David has slain Goliath who had been tormenting the Israelites for so long. So here, we have an opportunity to show equality, to allow freedom, and show true democracy where all tribes and languages have a stake at the table. It has been painful, tragic and a long journey, but let us be confident that we will prosper after today and we will secure a greater future with Bougainville still having a strong place and role in our stride to prosperity.

Congratulations to Sir Puka Temu and all the leaders who have shaped this journey since the Peace Agreement, up to this historical day. Let us be confident about the future, as a unique rainbow nation of a thousand tribes and 860 plus languages. Together, we are stronger!

Bougainville: World’s newest nation expected to form as islands vote in independence poll

Region thought likely to break away from Papua New Guinea would be first new country since South Sudan

The Pacific islands of Bougainville are voting in a historic referendum to decide if it will become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea.

The vote will run over two weeks and is a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a civil war in which at least 15,000 people died in the cluster of islands to the east of the Papua New Guinea mainland.

Experts believe the 250,000 people of Bougainville will vote overwhelming in favour of independence ahead of the other option, which is greater autonomy, but the vote will not be the final word.

The referendum is non-binding and a vote for independence would need to be negotiated by leaders from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. The final say would go to legislators in the Papua New Guinea parliament.

Gianluca Rampolla, the UN resident co-ordinator in Papua New Guinea, said the world body has been working hard to ensure the vote is peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible. He said there are 40 UN staffers on the ground and more than 100 international observers.

He said it is unlikely there will be violence during voting.

“They’ve been waiting 19 years for this historic moment,” he said. “I think they will be left with joy.”

Just over 200,000 people are eligible to vote in the referendum, with the results due in mid-December. Mr Rampolla said the extended voting period of two weeks is due to the region’s rugged terrain.

“There are people coming on boats, there are people walking,” he said. “It’s the rainy season. There are rough seas. Flexibility is needed to adjust on the ground.”

Voters have two weeks in which to cast their ballot (AP)
Voters have two weeks in which to cast their ballot (AP)

John Momis, president of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, told reporters on Friday the region stood on the verge of a new socio-economic and political order.

“We are trailblazers forging a new path into the unknown with the sheer determination to face any challenge that comes our way,” he said. “We will face this together as one people and one voice to decide our ultimate political future.”

In his weekly column in the Post-Courier newspaper, Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape said complex discussions and negotiations would be needed after the referendum before a political settlement could be reached.

The violence in Bougainville began in the late 1980s, triggered by conflict over an enormous open cast copper mine at Panguna.

The mine was a huge export earner for Papua New Guinea but many in Bougainville felt they got no benefit and resented the pollution and disruption to their traditional way of living.

The mine has remained shut since the conflict. Some believe it could provide a future revenue source for Bougainville should it become independent.

The civil war lasted for a decade before the peace agreement was signed. The other key aspects of the agreement were a weapons disposal plan and greater autonomy for the region.

Mr Rampolla said the peace agreement had been one of the few in the world that had lasted so long. He said it could end as a success story if the referendum and subsequent negotiations resulted in an outcome that everybody could support.

Press Association