The door is now open to West Papuans to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group, provided they have an inclusive and united group and are in consultation with the government of Indonesia.
Following the adoption of a roadmap in relation to the application by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) for membership in June 2013 at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit, an MSG ministerial mission led by Ratu Inake Kubuabola, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister of Fiji, visited Indonesia from January 11-15 this year to obtain information and conduct an assessment on the application for membership submitted by the coalition.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, speaking on behalf of the MSG leaders, said the leaders in their recommendations agreed to invite all groups to form an inclusive and united umbrella group in consultation with Indonesia to work on submitting a fresh application.
They welcomed and noted the progress on greater autonomy in Papua and the recent announcement by the president of Indonesia to withdraw the military from West Papua.
They have also endorsed that the MSG and Indonesia take a more proactive approach in addressing the issue of West Papua and Papua by undertaking the initiative to conduct greater awareness on the situation in Papua and West Papua provinces, with respect to the special autonomy arrangement among others.
Indonesia has a population of 246.9 million and of that there are 11 million Melanesians living in four provinces, West Papua, Papua, Maluke, West Timor and Flores.
PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER)