23 Mar 2011

Call to give West Papua full MSG membership

9:03 am on 23 March 2011

An NGO, the Australia West Papua Association, has written an open letter to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, calling for full membership of the agency to be extended to the people of the Papua region of Indonesia.

The MSG, which includes Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the Kanak grouping from New Caledonia, meet in Fiji today.

The AWPA's Joe Collins says with the MSG giving Indonesia observer status for the meeting, full membership should now be extended to the Melanesian people of West Papua.

He says Papua has been seeking observer status for years and to see that status instead going to Indonesia has left everyone shocked.

"And I think it also makes you wonder about so called Melanesian solidarity. And I think the only way the West Papuans here see it is that by offering them full membership of the MSG it will probably make up for offering Indonesia observer status."

The Australia West Papua Association's Joe Collins.

Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, has conveyed his support for Indonesia to obtain Observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

He told Indonesia's Ambassador to Vanuatu residing in Canberra that he was confident Indonesia's application will be supported at the MSG Leaders' meeting.