Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Indonesia ready to open Papua/PNG border road

Indonesia has announced that it is ready to open its cross-border road with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, saying it is proof of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Minister for Home Affairs, M. Ma'ruf visited a border post at Skow Wutung in Jayapura, Papua province, to check on immigration services.

"There has been much progress, including in the trial services. Here we can check how long it takes for a traveler to process his or her documents and baggage. We will speed it up to provide a better service," he said.

Papuan Governor Barnabas Suebu said that with the opening of the border crossing the number of people from PNG coming to shop in Jayapura would increase because the city's prices were cheaper, while Indonesian traders from Jayapura would find it easier to sell their products in Vanimo, a PNG provincial capital close to the border. "There are benefits to be had by both sides. They get cheaper prices and we will be able to sell our commodities," Suebu said.

The border post is also expected to reduce the number of illegal crossings. "With the opening of the legal post, local people are expected to use it," he said.

The post is scheduled to be officially opened next month by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and PNG Prime Minister Michael Somare, The Jakarta Post reported.

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