4:24 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2016, Solomon Islands
Disagreements remain among leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) on the issues of West Papua’s full membership even though an agreed communiqué stated that the deferral was a secretarial issue.
Since the agreed communiqué from the MSG special leaders’ summit in Honiara was announced publicly, leaders from the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Kanak National Socialist Liberation Front (FLNKS) have publicly disagreed with the outcome, saying the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) deserves full membership to the MSG.
In respective interviews with PACNEWS, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (Solomon Islands), Prime Minister Charlot Salwai (Vanuatu), Victor Tutugoro (FLNKS), said they support the aspirations for the self-determination of the people of West Papua and the full membership of ULMWP to the MSG.
Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, said the issue of membership, in particular the discussions of the membership of Melanesians of West Papua through the ULMWP as a full Member into the Melanesian family is a long time cry by Melanesians around the world including my country.
“Admitting ULMWP or Melanesians into the MSG should be the same basis for admitting the Kanaky through the FLNKS. Vanuatu has always believed that other Melanesians are ready to be admitted into the MSG family,”
said Prime Minister Salwai.
He said Vanuatu is adamant that being Melanesians they should not be subject to any form of criteria.
“We want meaningful dialogue and we can only do this when we are together. Vanuatu therefore gravely regrets the deferral of the admission of ULMWP on the matter of criteria, a clear sign that officials and the secretariat fell short in carrying out their duties consistent with the fundamental founding principles of this eminent organisation for Melanesians.”
FLNKS Spokesperson, Victor Tutugoro, shared similar sentiments, saying that all Melanesians deserved similar treatment at the MSG and as leaders there is a responsibility to protect and give voice to Melanesians in West Papua.
Tutugoro said he was not pleased with the deferral, stressing that there is a great need to support ULMWP’s political recognition at the MSG, thus, it would strengthen its political aspirations at the international level such as the UN.
“We Kanaky people were granted membership in a similar struggle to our brothers and sisters in West Papua and we feel that the same should be given to West Papuans as they are rightfully Melanesians and they need our Melanesian leaders support.”
Meanwhile, Fiji’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, while speaking on behalf of the Fiji government said Fiji respects the sovereignty of the people and government of Indonesia.
“We as the MSG must always respect the sovereignty of all member or associated countries of the MSG. To do otherwise would undermine the premise of the MSG. Because only through respect of sovereignty and commitment to dialogue can we reach mutual understanding,” said Ratu Inoke.