NEWLY elected Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, once a staunch advocator for West Papua independence says he’ll be taking friendlier approach to the issue.
He was responding to a question on his government’s foreign policy on West Papua during his first press conference on Wednesday.
This was just after he received a call from the Indonesia’s Embassy in Port Moresby congratulating him on his victory.
Sogavare told reporters that his government will actively engage more with Indonesia on the issues surrounding human rights violation in West Papua.
“The Indonesia’s Embassy in Port Moresby just called me and said they are looking forward for a friendly dialogue and consultations on the issues of West Papua as friendly neighbours,” Sogavare said.
He clarified that at the early stage the stand that he took as the prime minister and also as the Chair of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) was because it was the position MSG took all along.
“Well nothing stops individual Melanesian States to have their own foreign policy on West Papua issues but it will be really nice if we take it as a collective body to fighting against human rights violation,” Sogavare said.
But he added that it is a sad story when 600,000 Melanesians died, all because their rights were suppressed.
He further added that as a coalition government he will certainly discuss this issue with their partners and come up with a friendly way to address the issues of our Melanesian brothers in West Papua.
By ANDREW FANASIA