4 Feb 2013

Analyst predicts MSG will embrace West Papua

7:38 pm on 4 February 2013

An analyst says the Melanesian Spearhead Group is likely to accept West Papua as a member of the sub-regional organisation.

The comment from Ben Bohane, the communications director of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy, comes after the West Papua National Coalition for Independence formally submitted a membership application.

MSG backing for Papua has waned in recent years and two years ago, Indonesia was given MSG observer status despite strong objections by West Papuans.

However Ben Bohane says that support for emerging independent territories is strong in Melanesia.

"And the MSG will likely take them on board. And that will set up the Melanesian countries on some sort of - I won't say collision path but it will certainly test its relations with Indonesia. If West Papua is admitted to the family as an observer, then it's on a process to becoming a full member and then as a full member its position within the MSG would be considerably stronger than Indonesia's."

Ben Bohane