25 Jun 2004

Vanuatu foreign minister keen to host meeting between Indonesian government and Papua activists

10:29 am on 25 June 2004

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister says next month's election will determine whether the country hosts a proposed meeting between Papuan activists and the Indonesian Government.

Moana Carcasses says if he retains his portfolio he believes the meeting will go ahead, because indications are that the Indonesian Government is in favour of it.

However he says that if there is a change of Government, his replacement may not endorse the idea.

"We are having an election and of course if there is a new government and I'm not part of it, there is a new Minister of Foreign Affairs who decides he doesn't want that he wants something else, I can't defend that."

Mr Carcasses says his Indonesian counterpart, Hassan Wirajuda, has indicated verbally that he is keen for the meeting to go ahead.

He says part of the reason he spearheaded the meeting was his concern about West Papuan exiles, who are too frightened to return home.