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MSG decision disappointing, says Solomons academic

West Papuan activist Paula Makabori and Fiji leader Frank Bainimarama (RNZ, Johnny Blades)RADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL

A Solomon Island academic says the Melanesian Spearhead Group's rejection of West Papua's bid for full membership while elevating Indonesia's status is disappointing.

Yesterday the MSG decided the United Liberation Movement for West Papua will be given observer status as a "development partner representing the welfare of Melanesian people living outside."

Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill said the decision reaffirmed that representation at th sub-regional level must be by mandated leaders elected by their people.

But Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, who is an associate professor at the University of Hawaii's school of Pacific Island Studies, says the outcome ignores the representative status already held by the ULMWP.

"West Papua has been admitted only as an observer member but Indonesia has been made a member of the MSG,” Dr Kabutaulaka said. “I think that’s the big disappointment.

“On the other hand the fact that West Papua has been accorded observer status is a good thing. It’s a step in the right direction."

The ULMWP had hoped to follow in the footsteps of New Caledonia's FLNKS in obtaining full MSG membership without being a sovereign government, giving it international recognition.

But Indonesia's diplomatic push in the region in recent months seems to have been successful in preventing the West Papuan bid and increasing its status in the MSG.


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Kirine Yandit

Yeah Melanesian leaders are stupid and inferior. They cannot speak for their rights and those of their kind. They will remain inferior in this modern world. What a shame!

Daniel Ipan Kumbon

This situation in the MSG reminds me of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare who lost the race for the mostly ceremonial role of 46th President of the United Nations Genral Assembly in 1991.

The few of us PNGians including Ambassador Lohia and Education Minister Utula Samana were stunned. We thought we would win. We were hot favourites from the start but an Arab won.

We felt we lost because of Africa. We felt the Africans were bought off. Remember Melanesians came from the direction of Africa in the past.

Many people felt West Papua could be allowed into the MSG. Why deny our brothers their right? It seems we Melanesians will remain inferior forever.

Leonard Fong Roka

We should stop talking about Melanesia and all those dreams since we are not capable to defend our rights.

Leadership inside Melanesia is a heart of dastards. That is why countries in Melanesia are enslaved by much greater powers.

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