8 Apr 2008

West Papua National Coalition for Liberation settles new leadership

10:27 pm on 8 April 2008

A summit of Papuan leaders and NGOs underway in Vanuatu has settled on a new unified leadership for their self-determination efforts.

Representatives from 28 Papuan political groups and NGOs have been in Port Vila under the umbrella of the recently-established West Papua National Coalition for Liberation.

The Liberation has voted Rex Rumakiek of the Free Papua Movement, or OPM, it's Secretary-General, and hopes its new international drive for discussion on Papua will be helped by a unified structure.

The Vanuatu-based West Papuan People's Representative spokesman Dr John Ondawame admits that differing approaches of the various groups have not helped the Papuan cause in the past.

"We're trying to sort out the differnences between ourselves and we would like to send our case to the world. That's why we want a new leadership with a clear political programme and leadership."

Dr John Ondawame says the upcoming Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders summit in Vila represents the best chance yet to get observer status for West Papuans at the MSG.