PNG reluctant to offend Indonesia over Papua

8:02 pm on 9 September 2015
The PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato

The PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato Photo: Koro Vaka'uta / RNZ

The Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister says his country will not do anything to endanger the good relationship it has with Indonesia when it comes to West Papua.

The situation in the Indonesian region is one of the five agenda items at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Port Moresby and there have been calls for a fact-finding mission to the province.

The plenary meetings have also been marked by protesters outside the venue calling for more action in West Papua.

Rimbink Pato says he acknowledges the call for a forum mission and it will be discussed but PNG is looking at other methods.

"Our strongest recommendation will be to work alongside Indonesia. Indonesia has just been made an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group which is a sub-regional body and that is a starting point, and should there be some issues we will be looking to work through that and work together with Indonesia."

Mr Pato's comment comes after his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully said he did not support a fact-finding mission to the Indonesian region by the Forum.

"I haven't seen a role for a fact-finding mission but I think a healthy discussion about this matter amongst leaders will be useful and I think that Papua New Guinea and the chair will bring a good sense of balance and judgement to that discussion."

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