A founding father of the Melanesian Spearhead Group says he is confident West Papua will be admitted to the regional grouping next month.
Former Solomon Islands prime minister, Ezekiel Alebua, speaking during 25th anniversary celebrations for the MSG in Port Vila, says the body was set up to ensure equal treatment for all the indigenous people of Melanesia.
He says the MSG believed that each of the Melanesian nations should be able to make their own political decisions and that still holds.
West Papuans have been pushing for membership of the group and Mr Alebua says that should happen in New Caledonia in June.
"Having concern for each nation and West Papua is not only a neighbour but a brother to Papua New Guinea, I have full confidence that West Papua will be admitted into MSG in June."
Former Solomon Islands prime minister, Ezekiel Alebua.