Indonesia has given Papua self-determination, says Somare

June 2, 2008

News from RNZI

Posted at 00:05 on 31 May, 2008 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says that West Papuans don’t meet the same criteria for observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group that New Caledonia’s FLNKS movement does.

Responding to questions why PNG blocked the push by Vanuatu to have West Papuans of Indonesia granted observer status at the MSG, Sir Michael Somare said that it is an issue for Jakarta and not the Melanesian block. The issue was missing from the official communiqué for the just-concluded MSG Leaders Summit in Port Vila.

However MSG foreign ministers and senior officials had canvassed the issue earlier, with many delegates comparing the West Papuan bid for observer status to that of the Kanaks of New Caledonia who were admitted at the inception of the MSG in 1986.

But Sir Michael says the difference is the FLNKS has an official timetable towards and is preparing for possible independence.

“The Indonesian government is doing everything possible to look after their interests, they are now giving autonomous region of West Papua self determination. They are now looking after their own affairs, when you come to that stage it’s depending on the country that this administrating authority over that particular part of the country, so that’s what happening.”

Sir Michael Somare.

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PNG blocks West Papua’s MSG bid

May 28, 2008

Breaking News from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)

It seems that Papua New Guinea shows a very good intention in building trust with the Democratic Republic of Indonesia.

Posted at 03:28 on 28 May, 2008 UTC in RNZI

The push by Vanuatu to have West Papuans granted observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group is being blocked by Papua New Guinea.

Speaking at the MSG Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Port Vila, PNG’s Foreign Minister Sam Abal says his country will not allow Indonesia’s Papua region to be an MSG matter.

Vanuatu’s government has sponsored the issue as a discussion item on this year’s MSG agenda and is understood to have won the support of Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia’s FLNKS delegates for granting observer status to West Papuans.

But while the final decision will be made by MSG leaders later in the week, Mr Abal indicated that PNG won’t have the West Papuans in the group.

“The issue of Papua for PNG, that is an issue we don’t consider as an issue that should be brought into the MSG. It’s something that is an internal issue that has a lot of ramifications, implications on it. So we would wish that it should not figure as part of the MSG discussion.”

Meanwhile, the Ministers were saying little about the situation in Fiji which has been a key focus of the MSG review of political and security developments in their region.

Fiji’s interim Prime Minister is in Port Vila for the MSG leaders summit and the other members of the group are expected to try and gauge his commitment to his promise to have Fiji elections held by next March.

In the meantime, Fiji’s interim Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has briefed his MSG counterparts on the progress his country is making towards returning to democracy.

“And the presentation on Fiji was on what we’ve done so far. We updated them on that report and what has taken place in Auckland and after Auckland I addressed the meeting on that.” Ratu Epeli Nailatikau