26 Feb 2013

Former Vanuatu PM opposes Indonesian assistance to police force

9:53 pm on 26 February 2013

The former Vanuatu prime minister Barak Sope says that the government should not accept security forces assistance from Indonesia.

The comment from one of Vanuatu's outspoken leaders on the West Papuan self-determination issue follows a donation by Jakarta of a thousand police uniforms to Vanuatu's Police Force.

The donation was announced by the newly appointed Indonesian ambassador to Vanuatu, Nadjib Riphat Kesoem, who today presented his credentials to Vanuatu's President, Iolu Johnson Abil.

The ambassador presented a model of the Vanuatu Police Force uniform to the acting Prime Minister, Ham Lini.

Mr Sope says the assistance is unacceptable.

"How can Indonesia help Melanesians in Vanuatu and other places when they're also killing them, especially the military, killing Melanesians in West Papua? We cannot accept that."

Barak Sope says that Vanuatu should maintain its traditional support for the self-determination cause of West Papuan people.