25 Jun 2013

PNG's O'Neill rejects Namah's Melanesian slur

1:39 pm on 25 June 2013

Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Peter O'Neill, says a racially motivated attack on him by the opposition leader is disgraceful.

Mr O'Neill reacted to a weekend comment by Belden Namah, who accused the prime minister of not being Melanesian after he signed an extradition treaty with Indonesia.

Mr O'Neill says his vicious and uncalled-for attack while trying to justify his newfound position on Indonesia and Papua is disappointing but not unexpected.

He says he is proud of the contribution his late Australian-born father has made to Papua New Guinea before and after independence.

Mr Namah said Mr O'Neill's government would use the extradition treaty to send West Papuans fleeing Jakarta's rule back to Indonesia, adding that if Mr O'Neill was Melanesian, he would feel the pain and the suffering of the West Papuans.