19 Jun 2013

West Papuans disappointed with MSG stance

6:27 am on 19 June 2013

The Secretary General of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation Rex Rumakiek has expressed disappointment at signs the Melanesian Spearhead Group will defer a decision on the West Papuan application for membership in the group.

A decision on the formal application by the Coalition was expected at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit, which gets underway in New Caledonia today.

The summit has been preceded by a meeting of MSG Foreign Ministers who say the political sensitivity of the West Papuan self-determination issue is such the MSG needs more time to consider the membership bid.

Papua is part of Indonesia, which is an MSG Observer.

While the MSG leaders have the ultimate say on the matter, Mr Rumakiek says the suffering of West Papuans must be considered.

"We as an organisation representing a people who have been suffering for fifty years, we do respect the decision of whatever they come up with but we do hope that the leaders will not accept the position, the officials' decision on this because we've suffered for fifty years and we don't want to suffer for another fifty years."

Rex Rumakiek