21 Mar 2014

West Papuan self-determination must involve Jakarta, says Lilo

4:17 pm on 21 March 2014

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister says any self-determination efforts in Indonesia's Papua region must be made in conjunction with Jakarta.

Gordon Darcy Lilo and other leaders in the Melanesian Spearhead Group are considering a bid for membership by the indigenous Melanesians of Papua region.

Mr Lilo, who says Jakarta has taken heed of his call for an end to abuses by security forces in Papua, describes Indonesia's legitimacy over the region as unquestionable.

He says the choice by West Papuans to join Indonesia was made with the 1969 Act of Free Choice, although the referendum is widely regarded as having been stage-managed.

"They've done that. And it was done under the auspices of the United Nations. We need to respect that process. We need to work within that legitimate authority that they've made a decision on and make a point where we can find a way for that legitimate authority to make a decision whether or not the choice of autonomy or the choice of an independent autonomy will be the path that both parties will agree to put an agenda on to work towards into the future."

Gordon Darcy Lilo