Thursday, July 14, 2016

1) Vanuatu Says West Papua Let Down By MSG

2) MSG leaders defer decision on West Papua membership
2) Papuan Separatists Denied in MSG Membership

1) Vanuatu Says West Papua Let Down By MSG

Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai says the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has failed the people of West Papua.
The MSG last night deferred a decision on awarding full membership to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) until a new meeting can be held in September.
The delay is meant to allow the MSG Secretariat to further develop its membership criteria.
“Vanuatu gravely regrets the deferral of the admission of ULMWP on the matter of criteria, a clear sign that officials and the secretariat fell short in carrying out their duties consistent with the fundamental founding principles of this eminent organisation for Melanesians,” said Prime Minister Salwai.
Vanuatu led the push to have the ULMWP’s status upgraded, despite stiff opposition from Indonesia which said such a move would undermine its national sovereignty.
“Vanuatu has always believed that other Melanesians are ready to be admitted into the MSG family,” says Mr Salwai. “Vanuatu is adamant that being Melanesians, they should not be subject to any form of criteria.”
The Prime Minister has offered to host Melanesian leaders in September to ensure the issue is finally tackled.
Reports of crackdown
Meantime, there have been widespread reports of West Papuans being arrested by Indonesian security forces as they gathered in anticipation of the MSG decision.
ULMWP Secretary General, Octovianus Mote, says 348 people were arrested for simply preparing to celebrate the outcome.
“Most of these West Papuans are youth and they just want to express their freedom and right to association…but many were arrested,” he says.
He said most arrests took place in Timika, Jayapura, Merauke, Nabire, and Yahukimo.

FRIDAY, 15 JULY, 2016 | 11:32 WIB
2) Papuan Separatists Denied in MSG Membership
TEMPO.COJakarta-The Director General of Asia-Pacific and Africa for Foreign Ministry, Desra Percaya has his say about the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) failed MSG membership bid in the summit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
“There is no place for the ULMWP in the MSG’s future,” he said in a press release yesterday, July 14, 2016. Desra said that the verdict was against the conviction of the Papuan separatist movement or the ULMWP who had believed that they would be accepted as a full member in the summit of the MSG in Honiara.
According to Desra, active participation and intense lobbying of Indonesian delegates, comprising of five provinces with Melanesian-Indonesian culture, have convinced the MSG leaders to deny ULMWP form MSG membership. The five provinces are North Maluku, Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, Papua and West Papua.
The participants of the summit have agreed to further discuss the guidelines for membership that will be concluded on September in Port Vila, Vanuatu. “To respect the principles of international law which stipulate international relations,” Desra said. Particularly respect for sovereignty and non-intervention in the affairs of other states set forth in the establishment of the MSG.
Desra, the leader of Indonesian dalagates, said that Indonesia is committed to encourage and make the MSG into a progressive organization through tangible cooperation in development and constructive dialogue.
MSG is an organization which comprises of Melanesian countries that promotes and enhances trade relations between its member states and encourages Melanesian cultural exchange. Indonesia is an associate member of the MSG in the 20th summit of the MSG in Honiara, Solomon Islands, in 2015 having previously been involved as an observer.


3) MSG leaders defer decision on West Papua membership
West Papua’s quest for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has been dealt a setback of sorts by the group's leaders.
:34 pm today

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West Papua's quest for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has been dealt a setback of sorts by the group's leaders.
The leaders of the MSG countries last night announced that a decision on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua's membership application has been deferred until September.
Our reporter Johnny Blades told Jamie Tahana they said there was a criteria issue with the West Papuans' application, and the group's secretariat needs to establish guidelines for membership.
JOHNNY BLADES: Well it was a classic Melanesian Spearhead Group deferral really. They've done this before actually on the whole question of West Papuan membership, where they've postponed it to a later date basically because they can't reach consensus. We understand the breakdown on the decision really was that three of the four members - Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and the FLNKS of New Caledonia - were keen to have the West Papuans have full membership, but Papua New Guinea and Fiji aren't keen. So because they couldn't reach an agreement on that they've just kind of played it to the margins for the time being.  
JAMIE TAHANA: Yeah, so on the face of it it seems a tactic to try and buy some more time. Why is that?
JB: The sounds coming out of the MSG after that was that it was about some sort of technical issue, they had to take a closer look at the guidelines around membership criteria. But you would imagine that after, you know, all these years that they would have membership guideline criteria sort of sorted out. Vanuatu's prime minister, Charlot Salwai, in his statement after this outcome sort of expressed disappointment that the secretariat didn't in fact have that sort of criteria locked down. But yeah, it's really due to, I'd say, the great lobbying by Indonesia who are so opposed to West Papuans having full membership and in fact very opposed to the liberation movement as an organisation. I think it's a measure of how much they've lobbied the members to not let this thing go through.
JT: But the United Liberation Movement has been lobbying a lot as well. What does this mean for their quest, I guess, for some concrete diplomatic recognition - which would be a first for them. What does this setback mean for their journey now?
JB: I think it is a bit of a setback. One of their main things has always been that they internationalise the West Papua issue and that has been done actually, they've achieved quite significantly on that front really in the last year or so since coming together as a united group. But it is a bit of a setback because I think the people of Melanesia, grassroots people who feel very strongly about West Papua being part of the group, will see this, I think, as a bit of a disappointment, and therefore the MSG's integrity is also on the line. So, while it's not quite dead in the water yet, the ULMWP, it does bode not so well for their chances of membership. We'll have to wait and see later in the year, I guess.

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