January 5, 2017

West Papua: Melanesian Spearhead Group Seeks to Join Efforts With Independence Movement

Photo Courtesy of MSG

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is considering full membership in the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. MSG, an intergovernmental organization, seeks to promote economic growth in Melanesian countries and is composed of the four Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, as well as the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia. Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands have repeatedly shown support for West Papua’s independence movement. Indonesia, recognized as an associate member of the MSG, strongly opposes this consideration because it regards West Papua as an integral part of its territory. 

Below an article published by the Solomon Star:

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is considering full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

Indonesia currently has associate member status with the MSG and is strongly opposed to West Papua being granted full membership.

It is Indonesia’s view that West Papua already falls under their (Indonesian republic) representation in the MSG.

Foreign Ministers of the MSG member countries met in Port Vila last week to discuss [January 2017] guidelines which relate to the bid by West Papua for membership in the group.

Solomon Island’s foreign minister, Milner Tozaka, said the MSG leaders in July [2016] requested legal clarification on guidelines for membership.

“So that request has been attended to appropriately by the legal people and they have made a recommendation to be used for the foreign ministers to look at and then we will recommend it to the leaders for endorsement,” he explained.

Mr Tozaka confirmed that there won’t be a decision on the Liberation Movement’s application however he did say that they already have observer status.

MSG countries that have shown their support for the Liberation Movements full membership include Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and the FLNKS Kanaks movement.

Papua New Guinea and Fiji, have however leaned towards the Indonesian side on this issue.

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, said his country’s foreign policy remained firm that Vanuatu is not completely free of colonial bondage until all of Melanesia is free.