24 Oct 2005

Vanuatu PM will try to arrange Forum leaders visit to Jakarta

8:27 am on 24 October 2005

Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Ham Lini, says he will try to arrange for a visit to Indonesia by Pacific Forum leaders to discuss Papua.

Even though it is not an official agenda item, Mr Lini intends to raise the issue of Papua at this week's Pacific Forum summit in Papua New Guinea.

He says Vanuatu intends to continue its tradition of raising concern about the plight of these Melanesian people under Indonesian rule.

"At least we will always voice concern about West Papua. Whatever way we take it up, it will always be our aim. We'll try to see if it possible to make some arrangement with some of the Forum leaders to have a visit to Indonesia to hear their side of the story."

Ham Lini says while it's unlikely Papua would be given observer status at the Forum, Vanuatu considers issues surrounding the status of the province a priority area.