17 Jan 2014

MSG leaders support Indonesia sovereignty on special visit

8:41 am on 17 January 2014

The Melanesian Spearhead Group member nations represented in Jakarta say they fully respect Indonesia's sovereignty.

The Jakarta Post reports the politicians made the comment after visiting the country's most remote provinces of Papua and West Papua, earlier this week.

The Foreign Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, pulled out of the visit on the eve of his departure after Indonesia released its programme, which omitted planned meetings in Jayapura with Papuan civil society leaders.

Mr Natapei says the ministers' mission was to vet a bid by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation to become an MSG member.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received the PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, Fiji's Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Solomon Islands' Clay Forau Soalaoi and Yvon Faua, an envoy from New Caledonia's pro-independent FLNKS.

In a joint statement, Indonesia and the MSG concluded they "supported respective sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs".