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MSG Leaders made a tough decision: PM

June 27, 2015 5:44 am

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says one of the most testing choices faced by the Melanesian Spearhead Group this week was related to the issue of West Papua.

The MSG Leaders at their 20th Summit in Honiara, Solomon Islands have agreed to admit Indonesia as Associate Members of MSG and granted the United Liberation Movement for West Papua an observer status.

Bainimarama says Fiji has been guided by a number of overriding principles in approaching the West Papua issue.

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He says the first and foremost of these is that Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua cannot be questioned as the province is an integral part of Indonesia.

Bainimarama says to deal with West Papua and its people, the MSG has no choice but to deal with Indonesia and in a positive and constructive manner.

He says MSG member countries are convinced that the best hope for improving the lives of the people of West Papua – is to work closely with the Indonesian Government.

Bainimarama says they are hopeful as time progresses, those West Papuans who are outside Indonesia can also become part of that engagement.

He says the United Liberation Movement for West Papua may be a disappointed as they hoped for full membership but the rules of membership made that impossible.

He says the ULMWP is not the sovereign power in West Papua as is an external, non government organization that may represent West Papuan interests and opinion.

Bainimarama says the MSG simply could not give it the status it desired without compromising a fundamental principal.

However he says the ULMWP should not to regard this as a defeat but an opportunity.

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