A group seeking Papua's independence from Indonesia says it is hopeful of progress on membership of the Melanesian Spearhead group after meetings in Suva last week.
Representatives of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation met Commodore Frank Bainimarama as part of lobbying efforts for full membership of the group which is chaired by the Fiji Prime Minister.
The group's Vice Chairman, Dr Otto Ondawame, says Commodore Bainimarama showed clear commitment to raising the issue at the next meeting of the MSG in June.
"He maintained the identity of Melanesia as one of the strongest bases of economic growth and stability in the region. So I understand very well that he stands firmly on Melanesian identity."
Dr Ondawame says the group will hold meetings with other MSG country leaders over the next two months.