It has been recommended that a bid by the Free West Papua movement to join regional Pacific body the Melanesian Spearhead Group to been deferred.
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) brings together the leaders of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, along with New Caledonia’s indigenous political movement FLNKS.
The Free West Papua movement is pushing for independence from Indonesia and sees membership of the MSG as a step towards international recognition.
PacNews reports foreign ministers gathered in Lifou, the capital of New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands, have resolved to defer the decision until they’ve sent a delegation to Jakarta and Jayapura.Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola told the meeting Indonesia extended the invitation earlier this month.
He says Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands take the same position when it comes to the Indonesian province of Papua.
“All MSG countries share the same view that we would like to some form of self-determination for West Papua,” he said.
Vanuatu’s foreign minister Edward Natapei says his country strongly backed the bid to have it discussed at this meeting, but was outnumbered.
“We have to comply with the majority,” he said.
The leaders will also consider whether to approve the foreign ministers’ decision to send a delegation to Jakarta and Jayapura.
Source: Australia Network News