1 Feb 2013

West Papua group bids for MSG membership

5:16 pm on 1 February 2013

A group seeking West Papua's independence from Indonesia has applied to become a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Delegates of the West Papua National Coalition for Independence met the head of the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila, Peter Forau, to submit its application.

Its Vice Chairman, Dr. John Ondawame, says this marks an historic moment to advance the cause for Papuan independence.

He says West Papua is an inseperable part of the Melanesian group and he hopes acceptance into the MSG will mean that independent Melanesian countries will support its campaign.

The application will now be sent to the MSG's chairperson, Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Banimarama.

MSG backing for Papua has waned in recent years and two years ago, Indonesia was given MSG observer status despite strong objections by West Papuans.