18 Jun 2013

MSG signals deferral of West Papua decision

3:07 pm on 18 June 2013

Statements from the Melanesian Spearhead Group Foreign Ministers meeting in New Caledonia indicate that a decision on the West Papuan formal bid to join the group will be deferred.

The Ministers were meeting in Lifou ahead of the 19th MSG Leaders Summit in New Caledonia's capital which begins tomorrow.

Johnny Blades reports from Noumea

"Fiji as the outgoing chair of the MSG says that the group will send a mission to Jakarta and Jayapura to discuss West Papua with Indonesia's government. Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says that the Ministers have agreed this mission will proceed this year, depending on the agreement of Jakarta. Delegates at the Lifou meeting referred to the political sensitivity of the West Papuan issue as the reason why the MSG needs more time to consider the membership bid. The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, which lodged the membership application, is due to address the MSG leaders' plenary session about the plight of the indigenous people of Indonesia's heavily militarised Papua region later this week."