West Papua Coalition wary of Indonesia’s closer links to Vanuatu

Posted at 02:04 on 11 May, 2009 UTC

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says a visit by Indonesia’s Ambassador is unlikely to sway Vanuatu’s support for West Papuan self-determination.

Primo Alui Joelianto has been in Vanuatu to present his credentials to the Head of State as Indonesia’s newly appointed ambassador to Vanuatu, based in Canberra.

The ambassador expressed his government’s desire to engage in constructive dialogue with the Pacific region on development and policy issues in line with Jakarta’s "look east" policy, despite differences with countries like Vanuatu over the issue of Papua.

The Coalition’s Secretary General, Rex Rumakiek, says Indonesia could be trying to butter up Pacific countries...

  “We know that they’re doing that and it is open that we want to battle them on that ground. We’re winning the upper hand. So I don’t think they’ve any economic power to influence any government in the region to support them.”

Meanwhile, Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Bakoa Kaltongga has told the ambassador that his government will continue the country’s long-standing tradition of vocal support for West Papuan self-determination.

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