Monday, December 26, 2016

1) MSG discussions highlight Indonesia schism


2) Stop dreaming, separatists: RI

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http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/321302/msg-discussions-highlight-indonesia-schism

1) MSG discussions highlight Indonesia schism

RNZI 12:35 pm today 

Differences in approach between Indonesian and West Papuan representatives reached a head at Melanesian Spearhead Group meetings in Vanuatu last week.
MSG senior officials and foreign ministers had meetings at the group's secretariat in Port Vila, with the findings of a review of MSG rules on membership the main agenda item.
This comes as the MSG considers a full membership application by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
The Liberation Movement, which has observer status in the MSG, protested at efforts by Indonesian officials at the meeting to dictate terms on the wording of discussions.
Indonesia, which has associate member status, wanted wording to ensure that the Liberation Movement cannot become a full member.
Full member states of MSG including Papua New Guinea and Solomon islands also protested at what was seen as a breach of Melanesian discussion procedure.
Tabloid Jubi reports that the Indonesian delegation, as well as the ULMWP, was asked to leave the meeting room briefly while other delegations continued the formulation of criteria for membership.
Their views were still considered as written statements.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the MSG secretariat, Amela Yauvoli said preparation of MSG membership criteria is not a new agenda and has been discussed since the beginning of 2016.
He said that currently some neighbouring Melanesian countries want to become members of the MSG, and not only the Liberation Movement, therefore membership criteria must be clarified.
MSG decisions about new membership will be decided in the meeting of the leaders of the MSG in January next year.

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2) Stop dreaming, separatists: RI

Indonesia has urged a group of Papuan separatists angling for support from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to give it up, as the international organization has once again declined to allow a non-state actor to join its ranks.
The sub-committee on legal and institutional issues of the MSG effectively shot down a bid for full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in a recent meeting in Vanuatu, although it failed to reach a consensus on the matter.
The MSG is a subregional group of Pacific island countries and territories comprising Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.
Indonesia obtained associate member status during the last MSG conference in the Solomon Islands in 2015, while the ULMWP, which campaigns for Papuan independence, currently sits as an observer.

Wednesday’s closed-door meeting was previously touted as the separatists’ last shot at gaining proper recognition, but there is hardly any leeway for the MSG to support them, said Desra Percaya, the Foreign Ministry’s director general for Asia-Pacific and African affairs.
“Basically no decision was made; when we look at the current [MSG] agreement, the respect for sovereignty [is being upheld],” Desra told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
The MSG had repeatedly deferred judgment on the ULMWP’s bid for full membership amid calls to improve its membership application guidelines.

The sub-committee was tasked during a previous summit in the Solomon Islands with clarifying guidelines for observer, associate and full membership status.
But the odds were stacked high against the separatists, who on one hand violate the principles of respect for sovereignty, while as nonstate actors they are also prevented from participating in a forum of nation states, Desra argued.
“We have put this matter to rest, so stop dreaming,” he said, adding that the government remained open to the possibility of dialogue, as long as it adhered to Indonesia’s championing of the rule of law.

Last month, the MSG secretariat scheduled this week’s meeting in Port Vila for leaders of its members to discuss the ULMWP’s bid. However, there was no leaders summit component at this week’s meeting, even though there were still expectations they would meet early next year, Radio New Zealand reports.
Desra also insisted that PNG and Fiji strongly supported Indonesia’s position, making it impossible for the MSG to come to a consensus. Port Moresby is set to take on the MSG chairmanship in 2017.
“There is an early indication that PNG might defer the hosting of an MSG summit [under its chairmanship] until after its general election in July, likely pushing the date back as far as September,” Desra said.
The ULMWP claims that Indonesia is “committing genocide” and “killing dissidents on a daily basis”, which was refuted by a 2006 report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) as bogus and baseless.
Jakarta has always positioned itself as the benevolent giant in the South Pacific region, building rapport and engaging in intensive lobbying for years in an effort to dispel any separatist sentiment.

The government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has also made significant progress in developing its easternmost provinces, while also seeking to address responsibility for incidents of violence, not only against civilians or armed separatists, but also the security forces.
Indonesia’s interests in the MSG are based on the demographic and geographic reality that 11 million people of Melanesian ethnicity live in five of the country’s eastern provinces.
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