6 Aug 2014

West Papua conference in Vanuatu to provide platform

2:05 pm on 6 August 2014

The Vanuatu Prime Minister says a West Papua conference in Port Vila this month will provide a platform for delegates to decide together whether they want to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Joe Natuman says more than 50 delegates are expected to attend, and will allow a wide range of West Papua representative organisations from around the world to draft a new application to join the MSG.

Mr Natuman says the meeting will be organised by the Vanuatu National Council of Chiefs and the Vanuatu Christian Council.

"The West Papuans will have a meeting in Vila and decide what they wish to do. Whether they will organise themselves into one unified group and then from there they can decide whether they will wish to make another application to become a member of MSG. That's their business to decide."

Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.

Early this year, the Vanuatu government withdrew from a MSG foreign ministers delegation to Indonesia to discuss West Papua, saying the mission was unlikely to achieve what MSG leaders wanted it to.