15 Dec 2005

Government to vote against Papua motion, says Vanuatu PM

4:18 pm on 15 December 2005

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Ham Lini says the government will vote against the

West Papua motion to be debated in parliament later today.

The motion, tabled by the leader of the opposition Serge Vohor earlier this week, is to request Vanuatu's parliament to facilitate the process of independence for the Indonesian province.

In the proposed motion, parliamentarians will call on the government to sponsor the Papuan issue before the United Nations.

But Mr Lini, who has been a strong advocate of Papua's struggle for self-determination, says the government has concerns at how the motion was put in place and its wording.

He says Papuan representatives in Vanuatu have made the matter an NGO issue, which is undermining the country's sovereignty.

Mr Lini says the government agrees in principle with the motion and will likely defer it to parliament sittings in February when it has had time to consider it.