Sunday, March 1, 2015

1) Fiji reaches agreement with Jakarta as MSG bid looms

2) PM raises human rights with Indonesians, again


1) Fiji reaches agreement with Jakarta as MSG bid looms

The Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Fiji have agreed to intensify consultations together within the Melanesian Spearhead Group framework.
Indonesia, which has special observer status in the MSG, sent its minister Retno Marsudi to three full member MSG countries, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji late last week.
Johnny Blades reports.
"Retno Marsudi's trip has come as MSG leaders consider a formal membership application by West Papuans.
Following her meeting with Fiji's Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, local media reports that Fiji and Indonesia are further enhancing their bilateral relations.
They agreed to promote regular contacts and exchange visits between Indonesia and MSG members.
However no mention was made about the issue of West Papua and the MSG application.
Earlier, following Retno Marsudi's meetings with PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato in Port Moresby, local media were told not to ask about West Papua."


2) PM raises human rights with Indonesians, again

Caption:  foreign ministers Pato and Marsudi at Moresby press conference, refusing to talk about Papua issues.
Prime Minister  Peter O’Neill says he raised the issue of human rights in West Papua and Papua in talks with Indonesia’s foreign minister.
He also urged the Indonesian government to support the application by the Papuan provinces to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
He repeated his statement that his views on Papua were to do with human rights and “not sovereignty’’.
This follows the announcement by PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato that neither he nor his Indonesian counterpart would talk about those issues at their press conference in Port Moresby.
Mr O’Neill says the relationship between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia continued to strengthen and grow.
He made the comments following a meeting with Indonesia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, yesterday in Port Moresby.
“It is our pleasure to have Foreign Minister Marsudi make her first visit to Papua New Guinea representing the Government of President Joko Widodo.
“We hope the Foreign Minister and her delegation have gained greater insight to our nation.
“Papua New Guinea and Indonesia share a land border and it is essential that we maintain close and ongoing dialogue on a range of issues of mutual interest.
“Foreign Minister Marsudi and Foreign Minister Pato worked through a range of issues during the visit and I look forward to further announcements on these matters.
“After many years of bilateral engagement, ours is a relationship where we can express our views in an open and honest dialogue.
“I have made my position clear on the Indonesian provinces of West Papua and Papua and we appreciate Indonesia’s understanding that our concern on this issue relates to human rights, and this is not linked to issues of sovereignty.
“I further expressed my desire for Indonesia to support the application of Papua provinces to have membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.  This important sub-regional group is the ideal forum to foster greater people-to-people relationships between Melanesians.
“There are also border arrangements that have been the subject of discussion in recent years and we are working towards greater understanding on these matters.
“Our two countries are further considering visa arrangements for officials that will enhance ongoing dialogue and cooperation between our countries.
“There are also tremendous opportunities to expand direct trade, and to cooperate and share technical information in sectors where we have common interest such as agriculture, marine resources and mining.
“We would also like to see more Indonesian vessels utilising the expanded Lae Port as a hub to reach Pacific island nations.”
PM O’Neill said he also expressed his desire for officials from Papua New Guinea to learn more from Indonesia’s hosting of APEC in 2013.
“Indonesia hosted an outstanding APEC Summit in Bali in 2013 and there are lessons to be learned from their experience as we prepare to host APEC in Papua New Guinea in 2018.
“I appreciate the APEC exchange that has taken place between our officials since 2013, and look forward to this continuing as we move through the preparation phase leading to 2018.”
The Prime Minister said there are ongoing opportunities across many sectors to increase cooperation and dialogue and this is destined to continue.
“I would like to have more Papua New Guinean students studying in Indonesia, and bringing more Indonesian students to study in Papua New Guinea.  This not only increases immediate cultural exchange, but establishes life-long bonds between the two countries in areas such as business and government.”

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