MSG accepts Indonesia as associate member
UNITED Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) will only represent West Papuans living outside the province in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
That was the basis of their acceptance as observers in the MSG Leaders’ Summit in Honiara yesterday during the leaders’ retreat at the Heritage Park Hotel.
On the other hand, MSG leaders accepted Indonesia’s bid to be an associate member.
Both Indonesia and ULMWP lodged membership bids to the MSG prior to this week’s summit.
Although the official communique of the meeting, which leaders signed last night has not been released until today, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has gone his way to unofficially announced the decision
“Today is a very important day for peace and goodwill for our brothers and sisters living in Indonesia’s Melanesian provinces,” Mr O’Neill said yesterday as he left the meeting.
“Following discussion between the Leaders of Melanesian Spearhead Group countries, the group has decided that Indonesia is to be admitted to MSG as an associate member, and be represented by the elected leaders of these Melanesian provinces,” Mr O’Neill added.
“Further to this, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) will be given observer status as a development partner representing the welfare of Melanesian people living outside.
“Papua New Guinea welcomes the decision that reaffirms representation at the sub-regional level must be made by mandated leaders that have been elected by their people.
“This decision by MSG will pave the way for Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to engage in consultation within the framework of agreement with Indonesia.
“I look forward to having deeper conversations with Indonesia and in the true spirit of being part of a regional family.
“We are all partners in facilitating peace and security in our region.
“I believe we have the respect of Indonesia for the honesty and genuine nature of our offer to offer cooperation on this sensitive, issue. I further believe that groups such as ULMWP appreciate that our intentions are genuine.”
The MSG meeting will end today with the release of the communique.
Leaders will then join Papua New Guinea to officially open their newly built chancery building in Honiara.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI
and CHARLES KADAMANA