16 Dec 2005

Vanuatu government forces withdrawal of motion on Papua

2:14 pm on 16 December 2005

Vanuatu's parliament has withdrawn a motion which called on it to sponsor the self determination process in the Indonesian province of Papua.

The motion was tabled by the leader of the opposition, Serge Vohor, earlier this week, but it was withdrawn yesterday after the government dropped its support for the move.

Our correspondent in Port Vila, Len Garae, says the government wants to be seen as the one pushing the issue not the opposition leader who has long been vocal in support of Papuan self-determination.

"What they wanted to do is simply to withdraw the motion and then re-table it, but this time by the government. But the reality is it that wouldn't make any difference as the issue has gone right down and has ground roots in the villages and has been taken up by the Chiefs. The Chiefs are in support for West Papua to be freed from Indonesian rule. And it's going to be very difficult to tell the people that they're just going to have to drop it because it's there, it's in the blood, it's in them."

Len Garae