Mon, 31 Mar 2003

Megawati delays Papua visit

JAYAPURA, Papua: Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri has delayed indefinitely plans to visit the Puncak Jaya regency capital of Mulia.

The secretary-general of the party's Papua provincial chapter, Albert Yogi, said on Saturday that Megawati was scheduled to preside over a ceremony celebrating the party's anniversary on Sunday.

But due to Megawati's heavy workload as President she was unable to attend the ceremony, Albert told Antara.

It is unclear when Megawati informed party officials in the province of the delay.

Mulia is situated at the foot of the snow-blanketed Mt. Puncak Jaya, where a Twin Otter airplane crashed on Thursday on its way to Wamena, killing five passengers. The town can only be reached from other areas of Papua by light aircraft like the Twin Otter.

Albert said preparations for the party's anniversary celebration were continuing despite Megawati's cancellation. He said thousands of party supporters from Puncak Jaya and the rest of the country's easternmost province had arrived for the celebration and for a rare face-to-face encounter with the President. -- Antara