Tuesday, February 20, 2018

1) ULMWP Can Pass Muster: Foreign Minister

2) Papua election candidates' indigenousness confirmed
3) West Papua Liberation Army in fresh campaign against Indonesia

1) ULMWP Can Pass Muster: Foreign Minister

PM Charlot Salwai speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new ULMWP headquarters in Port Vila. The land grant was facilitated by then-Lands Minister, and now Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu.

In a brief message yesterday, Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu responded to an Indonesian spokesman's claims by Indonesia's First Secretary for Political Affairs in Australia that West Papua's 'game is up'. 
Radio New Zealand reported earlier this week that Mr Sade Bimantara said that the "United Liberation Movement for West Papua's bid to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead group has reached a dead end."
In the interview with RNZI's Johnny Blades, Mr Bimantara opined "I don't think they qualify to be a full member of the MSG. They are not a state, and as opposed to Kanaks, they are not on the C24 (UN) Decolonisation Committee, they are not on the list, West Papua. And also the separatist group does not obtain full support from all the West Papuans. And West Papua and Papua is also politically free, so there's no reason for the MSG to accept them as full members."
This was disputed yesterday by Vanuatu's Foreign Minister. In an email exchange with the Daily Post, Mr Regenvanu wrote, "Well, that's for the MSG Leaders to decide once the application is presented to them.
"Technically, the ULMWP can meet the new criteria just agreed upon."
The issue, he wrote, would not be decided by the technicalities outlined by Indonesia's spokesman. "The question is only whether a political compromise can be achieved by the MSG Leaders before the next Summit at which the application for membership will be considered."
"Vanuatu is working on achieving this political compromise," he concluded.
Mr Regenvanu has been an outspoken supporter of West Papuan Independence movement. One of his last acts as Lands Minister before he took up the Foreign Affairs portfolio was to facilitate a grant of land to provide the United Liberation Movement for West Papua a permanent headquarters in Port Vila.
A ULMWP statement following the announcement of Mr Regenvanu's appointment to the portfolio said that it "is certainly a very effective state policy closely linked to the direction of the effective support of... Vanuatu for the West Papuan independence struggle."


2) Papua election candidates' indigenousness confirmed
2:58 pm today 

The Papuan People's Assembly in Indonesia has cleared the indigenous credentials of candidates for the upcoming provincial gubernatorial elections.

After days of postponement, the Papua Elections Commission announced that incumbent Lukas Enembe and challenger John Wempi Wetipo would compete in June's election for Governor.
According to the Jakarta Post, Papua province was late in submitting candidates' verification documents to the Commission.
The 2001 Special Autonomy Law established by Indonesia in Papua stipulates that all candidates for Governor, and their running mates, must be indigenous Papuans.
The Assembly has conducted a factual verification on the candidates and confirmed they all originate from Papua.

3) West Papua Liberation Army in fresh campaign against Indonesia
12:26 pm today 
The West Papua National Liberation Army's central command in the Papuan Highlands has made a fresh declaration of war against Indonesian military.
The Liberation Army is the armed wing of the Free West Papua Movement. Since forming in the early 1970s after Indonesia took control of West Papua, the army has been waging a sporadic guerilla campaign for independence with limited weaponry.
However, it's been linked to a spate of skirmishes with Indonesian security forces in the Highlands region of Papua province in the past few months.
It claimed responsibility for the killing of an Indonesian soldier in remote Puncak Jaya regency last week.
The Army's recently appointed Chief of Field operations, Major General Telenggen Lekkagak, has issued a new declaration about driving Indonesian forces out of Papua.

The Liberation Army also wants to close the operations of foreign companies that are exploiting Papua's resources.
Major General Telenggen specifically mentioned the oil and gas multi-national BP with its gas project in Bintuni Bay, and the US mining giant Freeport which runs the massive Grasberg gold and copper mine in Mimika.
The Freeport mine, which is one of Indonesia's largest single sources of revenue, has long been the subject of West Papuan grievances over environmental and social impacts.
As well, Papuans have complained about not being consulted over the control of Freeport, and about not gaining any benefit from its lucrative operations.

Attacks by the Liberation Army on Indonesian security forces have often occurred in the area around Freeport, and have at times extended to attacks on the miner's infrastructure and personnel.
In the declaration, Major General Telenggen says that Papua's resources must be protected for the sake of West Papuan independence.
"As long as Indonesia occupies our homeland, the war's resistance continues until Papuan independence becomes real," read an English version of the Army's declaration.

He said that as of last month, the Liberation Army had ordered a general mobilisation of all its soldiers in Papua to carry out operations against what it calls "the invaders".
Although its membership has, in the past, been divided into various groups over West Papua's rugged interior, a spokesman for the Army says all of its wings are now united

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