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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (The Independent, May 30) – "Can't we chose one of the Vanuatu languages to become our main language?" asked Vanuatu President Kalkot Mataskelekele during his address to open the legislature last Monday.

Mataskelekele said he felt certain aspects of Vanuatu life had not changed sufficiently since Independence.

"Anglophonism'"and "francophonism" continue today as 25 years ago, even though bilingualism had been encouraged, the president noted.

The solution, he said, is to choose one of the more than 100 languages of Vanuatu to become the "main" language.

The president admitted that he had possibly broken diplomatic protocol in addressing the Indonesian president recently on political matters relating to West Papuan independence.

"I expressed my concern that one man should not kill another. West Papuans should not kill Indonesian soldiers and vice versa." The Vanuatu leader said the Indonesian government said it was very concerned about the Papuans and had given them wide autonomy, although, he added, it's a matter of words how we define autonomy. He had been in Indonesia for the Asian and African leaders' summit and had presented Bibles and Korans to the joint chairmen.

The president said that economic, political and social developments were taking place well before Independence. He said he wants to add a fourth dimension to these, a spiritual one.

"As a nation, it is our duty to put spiritual laws first," the president said.

June 1, 2005

Port Vila Presse:


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