24 Jun 2013

PNG opposition critical of government's Indonesia links

3:16 pm on 24 June 2013

Papua New Guinea's opposition has launched a broadside against the prime minister Peter O'Neill over his government's recent signing of an extradition treaty with Indonesia.

The opposition leader Belden Namah says the Indonesian government would most likely use the treaty to seek the extradition of West Papuan activists who have fled Indonesia in fear of reprisals.

The O'Neill government last week signed an extradition treaty and a raft of commercial and other civil agreements with Indonesia during a three-day state visit to Jakarta.

Also agreed by both countries is a 'softer border' policy aimed at increasing cultural and economic ties between West Papua and PNG.

Since 1986 PNG has officially maintained West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia.

But Mr Namah says the government has let down the people of West Papua.

He says Peter O'Neill is not a Melanesian, because if he was Melanesian, he would feel the pain and the suffering of the West Papuans.

At its annual meeting in New Caledonia last week, the Melanesian Spearhead Group agreed to delay a vote to admit West Papua by six months, despite intense lobbying by the Free West Papua movement.