2 Dec 2013

West Papua military leader extends thanks to Vanuatu in person

7:27 pm on 2 December 2013

The most senior commander in the OPM rebel force in Indonesia's Papua region is in Vanuatu to thank that country for its support for the indigenous people's push for independence.

Commmander Richard Joweni slipped surreptitiously out of Indonesia, through Papua New Guinea to reach Vanuatu.

He has met with the prime minister, Moana Carcasses, and thanked him for his backing in speeches at the United Nations General Assembly and at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka.

But a spokesman, Rex Rumakiek, says he also wanted to convey the importance of a planned visit by a Melanesian Spearhead Group ministerial delegation.

"Since the decision by the MSG in June the people are ready to welcome the foreign ministers' delegation to West Papua. So it is a big issue in West Papua where evberybody is waiting for them."

Rex Rumakiek.