12 Jun 2015

Jakarta hopeful Vanuatu change will end Papuan MSG bid

7:52 pm on 12 June 2015

Indonesia says it's quietly hopeful the change of government in Vanuatu will signal the defeat of West Papua's bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Sato Kilman is known to have a softer stance regarding Vanuatu's long-held support for West Papua, and as foreign minister recently indicated his country could open an embassy in Jakarta.

The change could potentially sway deliberations at the MSG leaders' summit in Honiara next week, where a decision will be made on whether to grant West Papua access to the subregional group.

The director of Indonesia's foreign ministry, Esti Andayani, says her country is carefully watching how things will play out and whether Vanuatu's policy regarding West Papua will change.

Until now, Vanuatu had voiced support for West Papua's bid alongside New Caledonia's FLNKS, while Papua New Guinea and Fiji appear to be leaning against it. Solomon Islands is yet to indicate a position.