News from RNZI
Posted at 00:05 on 31 May, 2008 UTC
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says that West Papuans don’t meet the same criteria for observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group that New Caledonia’s FLNKS movement does.
Responding to questions why PNG blocked the push by Vanuatu to have West Papuans of Indonesia granted observer status at the MSG, Sir Michael Somare said that it is an issue for Jakarta and not the Melanesian block. The issue was missing from the official communiqué for the just-concluded MSG Leaders Summit in Port Vila.
However MSG foreign ministers and senior officials had canvassed the issue earlier, with many delegates comparing the West Papuan bid for observer status to that of the Kanaks of New Caledonia who were admitted at the inception of the MSG in 1986.
But Sir Michael says the difference is the FLNKS has an official timetable towards and is preparing for possible independence.
“The Indonesian government is doing everything possible to look after their interests, they are now giving autonomous region of West Papua self determination. They are now looking after their own affairs, when you come to that stage it’s depending on the country that this administrating authority over that particular part of the country, so that’s what happening.”
Sir Michael Somare.