19 Jun 2015

Question over promotion of Indonesia within MSG

2:06 pm on 19 June 2015

A Solomon Islands MP has questioned the government's announcement about exploring greater representation of Indonesia in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The Manasseh Sogavare-led government, which hosts the MSG Leaders summit next week, says it will not back the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as a full member of the MSG, but would endorse West Papua to be an observer, "only to one united group".

It says that any bid for full membership representing Melanesians throughout Indonesia must be united and done in consultation with Jakarta.

The West Makira MP, Derrick Manuari, says given the strong public support for the West Papuans, the announcement is a sign of weak decision-making.

"The decision by the government of Solomon Islands is not good enough. It misrepresents the public opinion of Solomon Islanders and the very people whom they represent in government. The government is actually using rhetoric to continue their vagueness on the position on the West Papua issue."

The Solomon islands government also urges the MSG to continue looking at ways to make Indonesia an associate member of the MSG.

Mr Manuari says these moves to promote the representation of Indonesia within the group go against the founding spirit of the MSG.

"The Melanesian Spearhead Group is a body that was established to promote the solidarity and the rights of Melanesian states and territories. And that is the very reason why the FLNKS (Kanak movement of New Caledonia) was admitted into the group and not France, for that matter. And in this case, they are promoting an elevation of Indonesia's membership."

The Melanesian Spearhead Group is wrestling with a range of different views on a West Papua membership application.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group is wrestling with a range of different views on a West Papua membership application. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands Solidarity for West Papua Freedom movement plans to rally in Honiara today to show support for the West Papuan MSG membership push.

Leading members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua are already in the Solomon Islands capital, ahead of the Leaders Summit which is expected to focus on a decision on the membership bid.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs