Pacific Conference of Churches
Concern Over MSG Visit To Indonesia
Melanesian leaders will meet in Vanuatu next month to discuss a recent controversial mission to Indonesia and West Papua. Vanuatu pullled out of the mission at the last minure, disappointed with the stand taken by Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
After Melanesian Spearhead Group talks last year, members agreed to tour West Papua to see first-hand the human rights situation in the Indonesian-controller territory. They also agreed to visit Indonesia to discuss issues with authorities there. But Indonesia turned the event into a trade forum for MSG ministers and controller who the delegation would meet and where it would travel in West Papua.
Vanuatu refused to join the mission but Fiji and PNG who have close trade, security and aid links with Indonesia visited Jakarta and selected sites in West Papua. The Solomon Islands delegation held trade talks with Indonesia while on the mission. MSG Secretary General Peter Forau said the agenda for next month's meeting had not been completed but would address issues of importance to cooperation within the bloc, noteably the West Papue issue.
The MSG Chairperson, Victor Tutgoro, who is also spokeperson of New Calendonia's indigenous FLNKS movement, called for the meeting, just days after a controversial MSG mission to Indonesia and Papua. Foreign ministers from Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands were meant to decide on the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation to become a member of the MSG after the visit.