West Papua: Not a bad start for Sogavare - Solomon Star News

West Papua: Not a bad start for Sogavare

21 June 2015

WE all want our government to support the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) bid for membership of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG).

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last Thursday responded to that call.

The Government, he says, will vote to bring West Papua into the MSG fold on “observer status”.

The highly anticipated announcement was received with mixed reactions.

Some say the position is “too soft”.

Others say it is ambiguous.

While others say it’s confusing.

Expectation is the government must support West Papua’s full member into the MSG family.

We are sure Prime Minister Sogavare made the decision to welcome West Papua into the MSG fold on observer status based on advice received from his army of advisers.

At the moment, East Timor and Indonesia enjoy observer status at MSG.

Indonesia has since applied for associate membership status – an application that will also be decided by MSG leaders in Honiara next Wednesday.

West Papua’s application will also be decided at the same meeting.

The government’s decision to support West Papua attaining observer status on MSG may not go down well with many of us.

But it’s a breakthrough for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and local West Papuan supporters who’ve campaign and lobbied hard for this cause.

The worst we could get from the government is an outright rejection of West Papua’s application.

By giving them observer status, we have finally invited West Papua into the room to access and listen to discussions and deliberations.

And who know, this may be just a start. In a year or two, they may get full membership status.

Remember the political leaders who make these decisions now will not be up there forever.

Some, if not all, may be gone in a year or two.

But the West Papua issue will remain. It’s an issue we all must continue to push to the front burner for public debate and discourse.

So it’s not a bad start for Prime Minister Sogavare and the DCC government.