Ahead of next week’s first sitting of the new parliament, two groups are claiming majority support - one led by the caretaker Prime Minister Sato Kilman and the other by Edward Natapei of the Vanua’aku Pati.
Johnny Blades reports that the move by the Kilman-led government to strengthen ties with Indonesia, following the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s decision to grant Indonesia observer status, has left the Papua issue at a crossroads in Vanuatu.
The Kilman government went against popular opinion in Vanuatu by forging closer links with Jakarta.
Ongoing human rights abuses suffered by the indigenous Melanesians in Indonesia’s Papua region are a very sensitive matter for ni-Vanuatu.
Edward Natapei says that in particular the agreement signed with Indonesia, precluding Vanuatu from raising the Papua issue, has hindered Vanuatu’s work on the issue.
“That is also another stumbling block so it’s going to be difficult for us to move forward with the West Papuan issue, unless we sit down and consider this agreement that was signed recently by the current caretaker government and also re-look at their (Indonesia) observer status in the MSG.”More >>>
Vanuatu’s stand on West Papuan issue at the crossroads