The Indonesian government has invited foreign ministers from Melanesian nations grouped under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to Jakarta to receive briefings on development in Papua and West Papua provinces, a move that could be seen as a campaign to obtain international support for the country’s sovereignty over its easternmost region.Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said that an invitation for the event had been sent to Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
“It is true that I met the Fijian prime minister in Fiji on June 3. The topics we discussed touched mainly on bilateral relations between our two countries. At the meeting, I also extended an invitation to foreign ministers of MSG member states to come to Indonesia,” said Djoko Suyanto on Tuesday (18/06).
The MSG consists of Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, as well as the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), a pro-independence group from French-ruled New Caledonia.
“We invite these foreign ministers to visit Indonesia to observe Indonesia’s development in general, which also includes the government’s policy on the acceleration of development in Papua and West Papua,” Djoko said.
He denied, however, that the invitations were aimed at countering Papuan pro-independence activists’ efforts to win support from the international community.
The senior minister said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had endorsed the plan.
On Monday (17/06), PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who led a delegation of government officials and business leaders on a three-day visit to Jakarta, said that Papua was an integral part of Indonesia.
O’Neill merely added that he was “happy to have been asked by the Indonesian government to help manage issues” in Papua and West Papua.
Source: The Jakarta Post