Samoa PM To Consider Supporting West Papuan Forum Bid

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Tuilaepa met United Liberation Movement for West Papua leader

By Taina Kami Enoka

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 14, 2015) – Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has assured the Free West Papua movement that he will look into their request for Samoa’s support with regards to the Pacific Islands Forum (P.I.F) membership.

The assurance was offered during a meeting between Tuilaepa and the General Secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octovianus Mote, in Apia on Thursday.

Mr. Mote was in Samoa as part of a trip around the region to meet country leaders and gain support for their membership on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (M.S.G.) as well as the Pacific Islands Forum (P.I.F.).

Despite the non-commitment from Tuilaepa, Mr. Mote remains confident that Samoa will support their mission.

"Tuilaepa did not state support but said he would follow up," Mr. Mote told the Sunday Samoan.

Mr. Mote who left for Fiji on Friday, said yesterday that he also met with Tautua leaders and the Council of Churches who also expressed their full support.

They too were confident that Tuilaepa would back their decisions.

According to Mr. Mote, when West Papua gained independence in 1961, Samoa was one of the few countries represented at the celebrations.

Samoa also played a big part in taking Christianity to its shores.

West Papua also took part in the formation of the P.I.F. Later that same year, Indonesia took over and severed all ties with the region.

"The main reason why I’m here for is because West Papua is under threat today," he said during an interview last week. Mr. Mote said that the population, which was once 1.5 million, now stands at only 48 percent of that and already, his people are a minority in their our land. Should the trend continue, in 2020, the population will be less than 23 percent.

"That means five years from now,we will lose everything. We need to stop this because Indonesia is really speeding up their colonisation."

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