Solomons MP calls on MSG to accept West Papua

8:51 pm on 3 June 2015

A Solomon Islands MP is calling on the Melanesian Spearhead Group to ignore Indonesia and accept the application to join the group by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

The MP for West Makira says he is disappointed in his own country's lack of conviction on the issue despite what he describes as overwhelming support from the Solomon Islands public for West Papua.

Indonesia's officials have been encouraging MSG member states not to approve of the West Papuan bid.

Indonesia currently has observer status at the MSG and Jakarta argues that there are more Melanesians in other parts of Indonesia who should theoretically be included in the MSG membership bid.

However Solomons MP Derrick Manuari says the precedent for dealing with the situation has been set in the case of the Kanaks in New Caledonia whose representative group, the FLNKS, is a full member at the MSG.

The MP says the Kanaks were given membership rights over France because they represented the Melanesian people of the French territory.

"It is not a sovereignty issue - it is a solidarity issue, of solidarity of Melanesian states, Melanesian territories in Melanesia. So the precedent is already set. That West Papua as a Melanesian state should be admitted as a member of MSG and not Indonesia. It's not Melanesia."

Mr Manuari says he is urging MSG leaders when they meet on the 24th of this month to listen to the outcry from citizens in their own countries and to remember the reason the group was originally founded.

Last month, Fiji's prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, said the best thing to do was to make Indonesia an associate MSG member, adding it made no sense to bring in Papua separately.

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Photo: RNZI