A PROPOSAL for the five Melanesian provinces of Indonesia to become a united member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is well advanced.
Under the proposal, those five provinces would represent the nation of Indonesia at the MSG.
A three-day consultative meeting of the five provincial governors and the national government has just ended in the Maluku capital of Ambon in preparation for a formal commissioning of a combined MSG body by President Joko Widodo at the presidential palace in Jakarta next week.
This has been revealed to the PNG Loop by government consultants on Papuan, MSG & Pacific Affairs Franzalbert Joku and Nick Messet.
They said the proposed unified approach is strongly supported by Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands.
“When appropriate formalities are completed, the five Melanesian provinces of eastern Indonesia, namely Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara, will exercise their right to lodge their membership application, under a unified banner and with full endorsement of the Indonesian government, with the MSG secretariat in Port Vila for consideration by the leaders of that sub regional grouping,’’ the consultants say.
“The national government of Indonesia is currently considering PNG Prime Minister’s invitation for full membership in the Pacific Islands Forum for Indonesia, when its current observer status in the MSG is inherited by its five provinces with a new and elevated status as a full member.
“The composition of the representative body for the Melanesians of Indonesia that will affiliate to the MSG is strictly upon nomination by the respective provincial governors.
“Even political amateurs will tell you this is the only correct way to address the issue of full membership for Melanesians of Indonesia in the MSG.
“The approach is in full conformity with diplomatic norms and established international practice. It is the only elegant way to do it.”
Joku and Messet are both Papuan and longtime residents of PNG. Messet was a pioneer pilot and Joku was the editor of The Times, an English language weekly newspaper under the Word Publishing umbrella.