25 Mar 2011

Former leaders to lobby Vanuatu government on Papua support

11:19 am on 25 March 2011

Four former Vanuatu leaders are today expected to call on the present government to hold the line in the country's support for West Papua.

The four are former prime ministers Barak Sope and Edward Natapei, and former presidents Kalkot Mataskelele and Ati George Sokomanu.

Vanuatu has long been a lone supporter of the Melanesian people of the disputed Indonesian region, and Mr Sope says they want to ensure that prime minister, Sato Kilman, stands firm on this at a summit of Melanesian countries next week in Fiji.

Mr Sope says they will also be calling on the current chair of the MSG, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, not to give observer status to Indonesia.

He says such a move is an insult to Melanesian people and defeats the purpose in setting up the MSG.