6 Aug 2010

Disappointment over lack of West Papua discussion at Forum talks

8:19 am on 6 August 2010

West Papuan activists have voiced disappointment that the issue of West Papua was not brought up at the Forum Leaders Summit in Port Vila.

The new chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Vanuatus Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, indicated earlier this year he would pursue the issue at the Forum level.

Vanuatu has long supported self-determination efforts for the indigenous people of Indonesias Papua region.

But Mr Natapei says the scuppering of last months planned Melanesian Spearhead Group Plus meeting prevented the topic being raised at the Forum.

"Vanuatu intends to raise this issue at the MSG first before introducing it at the Forum meeting because it has to be taken up at the Melanesian Spearhead Group. There hasn't been any MSG meeting unfortunately , I couldn't introduce this at this meeting at this point in time."

However John Ondawame of the Vanuatu-based West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says the issue of the Pacific regions forgotten people have again been swept under the carpet.

This is a disappointment for the West Papuan community here in Vanuatu as well as the Vanuatu peoples who [are] strongly to the independence of West Papua and also back West Papua itself.