Friday, December 16, 2016

1) PM: MSG seeks wider support for West Papua

2) NZ-bound Indonesian diplomat on a mission re Papua
3) Video #WP4MSG

1) PM: MSG seeks wider support for West Papua

PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has include Micronesia, Polynesia, and African countries to fight against human rights violations in West Papua.
Mr Sogavare explained this in Parliament when asked by Opposition Leader, Jeremiah Manele on Thursday.

He said Papua New Guinea and Fiji have taken different stand on this issue and did not want to follow the purpose and stand of MSG.

“PNG shares the same border with Indonesia and want to take cautious and Fiji has fixed connections with Indonesia,” Mr Sogavare said.

“Therefore, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia will include the Micronesia and Polynesia countries ply non alliance group in Africa,” he said.

Furthermore, Mr Sogavare said the government will continue with the shuttle diplomacy of sending the envoy to consult and engage in Pacific countries.

“We send our envoy to talk with the leaders within our own circle and outside of Melanesia,” the MSG chair said.

Rex Horoi is the Solomon Islands’ special envoy to West Papua.

Mr Sogavare said the envoy’s term will end after his two years with MSG lapses.

However, he wants to take it up to Parliament to find ways to continue after the chair of MSG ends.

Opposition leader, Mr Manele said it’s a complex issue because it involves self-determination and human rights.

However, he said this is the first time for the government to take a proactive step on this policy.

“It’s important for Indonesia to understand our position,” Mr Manele said.

“I hope the engagement and consultation go on, can help Indonesia to understand where we are coming from,” he added.

“I guess it’s advisable for more engaging and consultative approach we continue to take on this matter, at the end of the day, not counter-productive,” he said.

Mr Manele supports the idea to continue with a policy in Parliament after the end of Mr Horoi’s term.


2) NZ-bound Indonesian diplomat on a mission re Papua
2:48 pm today
The man selected by Indonesia's government as its new ambassador to New Zealand says it's his mission to relay accurate information about West Papua.
Tantowi Yahya, formerly a well known TV presenter and country singer, has been endorsed by President Joko Widodo for the Wellington role which also covers Tonga and Samoa.
The Jakarta Post reports Tantowi as claiming people in New Zealand are unaware of the improved conditions in Papua and West Papua provinces.
He noted that issues around human rights in Papua have been intensely debated in New Zealand, including rallies at the Indonesian Embassy, in public spaces and university campuses.
But the Golkar Party politician claims the situation in Papua region is significantly different now due to government efforts to develop the regions.
His comments come after more demonstrations by Papuans calling for self-determination, including a rally attended by at least 6,000 people in Wamena last Saturday.
Tantowi says it is not true that Papuans yearn for independence.
He says that while the protest movement remains small, Indonesia still has the responsibility to address the issue, "especially since they cite outdated information that no longer reflects the reality on the ground".
Tantowi was quoted in Indonesian media in February this year warning against allowing foreign journalists to enter Papua.
President Widodo's move in 2015 to lift restrictions on foreign media access in Papua was widely welcomed internationally, but Tantowi pushed for the decision to be reviewed.
The ambassador-elect, when cleared for duty, is expected to be officially sworn in by March next year.
3) Video #WP4MSG


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