4 Oct 2010

Vanuatu PM yet to raise Papua issue at UN despite parliament motion

7:51 pm on 4 October 2010

A spokesman for Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei has confirmed he did not raise the issue of the status of Indonesia's Papua last week while attending the United Nations General Assembly.

In June, Vanuatu's parliament unanimously passed a motion, sponsored by Mr Natapei, to raise issues around the status of Indonesian territories of New Guinea at the UN.

Under the motion, Vanuatu was to request General Assembly support for the International Court of Justice to provide an advisory opinion on the process in which the former Netherlands New Guinea was ceded to Indonesia in the 1960s.

A spokesman for Mr Natapei said the Prime Minister feels the Papua issue is very sensitive and that it was not the right time to raise it at the UN level.

He said it is thought that the issue should be raised at the Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders level first.

However, some MPs say that Mr Natapei could be held in contempt of Parliament for failing to follow through on the motion.