Chairman: West Papua To Be Admitted As Full Member Of Melanesian Spearhead Group

Solomon Islands PM says whether or not PNG, Fiji attend next summit meeting West Papua is in

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Oct. 8, 2016) – Whether Papua New Guinea and Fiji attend the next Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders’ Summit in Port Vila or not, come the second or third week of December, the Leaders of New Caledonia, the Solomons and Vanuatu will grant West Papua full membership of the MSG.

The announcement by the Chairman of MSG and Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, was made at a meeting with the Chairman of Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Allan Nafuki and his Executive, West Papua prominent Leaders Jacob Rumbiak and Benny Wenda and Andy Ayamiseba in Port Vila three days ago.

Upon hearing the confirmation from the Chairman of MSG, the Chairman of VFWPA said he smiled a long overdue smile and breathed a sigh of relief saying, “Now I can go to my home island of Erromango and have a peaceful sleep with my grandchildren, with no disturbance whatsoever”.

Comparing Vanuatu’s bondage of 74 years before eventual freedom arrived on July 30 of 1980, Chairman Nafuki said West Papua has been suffering colonial brutality and death for 54 years under Indonesian rule.

“I believe the time is approaching when the Melanesian people of West Papua are going to start enjoying some form of self-determination”, he said with confidence.

“Furthermore, let me stress that 100% of every civil society organisation in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji are supporting this move (by the Chairman of MSG). I want to stress the ratio (of support at) 100% and I want to emphasise 100%”.

The Chairman said he had looked forward to welcoming West Papua (through ULMWP) as a full member of MSG in Honiara in July of this year.

However he said when Pastor Peter, Elder Dalea and Charlie of VFWPA travelled to Honiara then he learned that the objective was not achieved, he became sad.

While Chairman Nafuki did not explain what exactly happened in Honiara, independent sources claimed PNG and Fiji walked out of the Summit. This time around in Port Vila they made similar excuses to delay the meeting, he said.

The Chairman continued, “I had been hoping that this time in Port Vila, we would have some positive news about West Papua. We organised a Civil Society Organisations Parallel Work Forum at the Vanuatu Christian Council Murray Youth Centre to coincide with the MSG Summit.

“Then we learn that the date has changed yet again to December this year and as Chairman of VFWPA, I am very disappointed”.

In their meeting with the Chairman of MSG this week, he said the Chairman spoke of his “strategic plan” for the Vanuatu Prime Minister, Prime Minister of the Solomons and Victor Tutugoro of New Caledonia, to consider other avenues to help West Papua without Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

He said appropriate considerations have to be made not to exclude some members of MSG. “As far as we at civil society are concerned, if two or three or four members are present, let the ball roll but at MSG level, they have to be careful not to breach the MSG Constitution”, Chairman Nafuki said.

To confirm his joy, he repeated what the Chairman of MSG announced at the meeting that if Fiji and Papua New Guinea do not turn up for the MSP Summit during the second or three week of December, the three member countries would have no alternative but to go ahead and vote West Papua in to full membership of MSG.

He said, “This is very good news for us! We sit with Andy (Ayamiseba), Benny (Wenda), Jacob (Rumbiak) and my Executive round one table.

“This is when I thank the Chairman of MSG by quoting King David in Psalms saying, “I am the good shepherd…” and the Chairman of MSG said, ‘I read the bible too’ and said it is important that prime ministers read the bible and pray. It is important that governments and civil societies pray to achieve what is in front of us”.

Chairman Nafuki calls on everyone to continue to pray for reported brutal killings and human rights abuse in West Papua to cease.

Asked where Indonesia comes in all this, the Chairman replied, “It was not discussed. My sole interest is for West Papua to become a full member of MSG”.

He said the confirmation by the MSG Chair has given him and all members of all other civil society organisations in Melanesia 100% hope for West Papua’s destiny.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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