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Melanesian leaders discuss West Papua bid to join MSG


A GATHERING OF PACIFIC leaders in New Caledonia is this week deciding whether to admit a pro-independence group from Indonesian province of West Papua to the body.

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, which has been pushing for independence from Indonesia, sees membership of the MSG as a step towards international recognition.

Vanuatu has voiced support in the past for West Papuan membership, but Fiji and Solomon Islands have yet to make their positions known.

PNG's prime minister, Peter O'Neill, who is not attending the New Caledonia meeting, has said PNG's policy is that West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia.

A high-powered delegation from Indonesia, including Melanesian members, is expected to be in Noumea.

The talks will also focus on a Melanesian free trade agreement and support for FLNKS (the Front De Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste), which is pushing for an independent New Caledonia.

At the end of the talks, Fiji's interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama will hand over the chair to the FLNKS spokesman, Victor Tutugoro.

The Kanak bid for independence from France was a core reason for the inception of the Melanesian Spearhead Group 25 years ago.


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Michael Dom

I appreciate concerns for our national security but if you look at the spade we have in our hands, then like I said Francis, we're gonna let our brothers die.

David Kitchnoge

"The Kanak bid for independence from France was a core reason for the inception of the Melanesian Spearhead Group 25 years ago."

25 years on and MSG is yet to deliver political independence to the Kanaks. What hope is there that it will the West Papuans in the next 25 years?

It seems MSG, let alone PNG, is a case of the cat daring to roar.

MSG, in particular PNG, must lobby hard the UN to step in and use its collective might to liberate West Papua.

And if they can't, then discredit them and kick them out of our country and don't listen to their twisted opinions and worthless rhetoric on anything that concerns us.

Francis Nii

To PNG, the West Papua issue is not as easy as it seems from the surface. It involves diplomatic complexity and PNG's national security.

We just can not blindly dance to MSG's music at the expense of our national security.

We all sympathise with our Melanesian brothers on the other side but we have to be very cautious. We hope one day things will work out peacefully.

Michael Dom

In the classic tradition of procrastination...

West Papua is the litmus test for Melanesian solidarity and the unity of Pacific Island Countries.

Is the 'big-boi' of the MSG ready to re-draw political lines?

My impression is that we're going to let our black brothers down and give away half of our island. (Spit.)

There is no Papua New Guinea without Papua or New Guinea.

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