11 Feb 2015

West Papuans lobby Fiji support for MSG bid

9:15 pm on 11 February 2015

The secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua has been in Fiji meeting government and parliament figures as well as church leaders.

Octo Mote is seeking Fiji's support for the Movement's bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The ULM last week submitted its membership application to the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila where the Vanuatu government has been assisting the West Papuan representative group in its submission.

United Liberation Movement for West Papua secretary-general Octo Mote.

United Liberation Movement for West Papua secretary-general Octo Mote. Photo: Supplied

Mr Mote has signalled that support for their application has been forthcoming from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia's FLNKS movement.

But support for West Papuan membership is not guaranteed from the other MSG members, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, and the ULM is keenly lobbying both governments on its submission.

Mr Mote says the West Papuans respect the diplomatic relations between Fiji and Indonesia, and believes Fijian support for their cause will not jeopardise these relations.

He reassured Fiji that supporting West Papua's entry to the MSG does not mean West Papua will be independent, and is not a threat to the Indonesian Government.

Mr Mote's meetings in Fiji were arranged with assistance from the Pacific Conference of Churches Secretariat, and involved dialogue with the Methodist Church, who the secretary-general says have offered to write to the MSG secretariat in support of the bid.

He also met with Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa.

Mr Mote says both showed willingness to support West Papua's bid and that he looks forward to further talks with Fiji's leadership in March.