Member of Parliament (MP) for Aoke-Langalanga Mathew Wale
Member of Parliament (MP) for Aoke-Langalanga Mathew Wale has lashed out at the country’s Parliamentarians who have bowed down to Fiji’s economic interests when the issue of West Papua was brought up at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meetings.
Speaking in Parliament last week, Wale said Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela was wrong to have apologised in the recent MSG leaders meeting in Port Moresby last month because this only shows that Solomon Islands is weak and will therefore continue to allow Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG) to always ride over Solomon Islands at the regional meeting.
Wale, who sits at the Independence Bench in Parliament, said the Solomon Islands must stand firm on its position on West Papua and not to apologise at the regional level because this only shows the country is weak.
He was speaking on the session where the question on the apology by the Prime Minister Houenipwela in the recent MSG meeting was raised.
The question was earlier raised by Mr Wale himself as a question in the Order Paper of the session.
It was during the question and answer session of Parliament that Minister for Foreign Affairs Milner Tozaka stood up to support and reiterate on the importance of the apology made by Prime Minister Houenipwela at the recent MSG summit.
Mr Tozaka said the apology showed how Solomon Islands play an important role in upholding respect among our leaders within MSG in the PNG meeting.
“If anything is wrong or we do not feel good about it, then we reconcile,” said Tozaka.
“We show respect to other leaders as part of our culture and tradition to protect our relationship and stay calm to discuss together issues affecting our countries.”
He said the apology does not undermine the country’s diplomatic relationship with the MSG countries.
Mr Tozaka gave the example of the important role Solomon Islands played on the reconciliation Solomon Islands mediated and hosted in year 2010, which reconciled Fiji and Vanuatu over their differences.
He said leaders come together to iron out the differences and move forward.
But Mr Wale slammed the reconciliation event hosted in Honiara by stating it was Tozaka and the Prime Minister then who hosted the reconciliation and gave the chairmanship of MSG to the unelected dictator of Fiji in 2011.
“That is why MSG is a laughing stock,” he said.
“PNG and Fiji continue to ride over us because we accept rubbish,” Mr Wale said.
Mr Wale said he understands that PNG has security issues regarding the West Papua issue but Fiji’s interest is money and their heart is not Melanesian.
Wale stressed that Solomon Islands must stand with its Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua because they were treated like dogs or even worse than dogs.
Fiji is represented at the recent MSG Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby last month by the Defence and National Security Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.