PNG hails In­done­sia’s ad­mis­sion into Me­lane­sian group

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

In­done­sia has been ad­mit­ted to a Me­lane­sian in­ter­gov­ern­ment group, Pa­pua New Guinea Prime Min­is­ter Peter O’Neill an­nounced Thurs­day, wel­com­ing the move as an im­por­tant way to strengthen peace and se­cu­rity in the re­gion.

In­done­sia last month an­nounced plans to join the Me­lane­sian Spear­head Group (MSG) and has been wel­comed as an as­so­ciate mem­ber. It will be rep­re­sented in the re­gional bloc by elected lead­ers of its eth­nic Me­lane­sian West Pa­pua.

The United Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment for West Pa­pua (ULMWP) — an um­brella body rep­re­sent­ing re­sis­tance groups in the province — would also be given ob­server sta­tus, O’Neill added.

“To­day is very a(n) im­por­tant day for peace and good­will for our broth­ers and sis­ters liv­ing in In­done­sia’s Me­lane­sian prov­inces,” the PNG leader said in a state­ment af­ter a meet­ing of MSG lead­ers in the Solomon Is-

prov­inces Pa­pua and lands cap­i­tal Ho­niara, where In­done­sia’s ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved.

“I be­lieve we have the re­spect of In­done­sia for the hon­esty and gen­uine na­ture of our of­fer to of­fer co­op­er­a­tion on this sen­si­tive is­sue.

“I fur­ther be­lieve that groups such as ULMWP ap­pre­ci­ate that our in­ten­tions are gen­uine.”

The Me­lane­sian Spear­head Group has Fiji, Pa­pua New Guinea, Solomon Is­lands, Van­u­atu and the French over­seas ter­ri­tory of New Cale­do­nia’s in­de­pen­dence move­ment FLNKS as mem­bers.

It was formed in 1986 to sup­port the de­col­o­niza­tion process and help re­gional lib­er­a­tion groups, but has since evolved into a re­gional body dis­cussing trade and se­cu­rity is­sues.

In­done­sian Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo’s move in May to re­move re­port­ing re­stric­tions in Pa­pua was seen as a sign that Jakarta was eas­ing its tight grip on the min­eral-rich province, where poorly armed fight­ers have for years fought a low-level in­sur­gency against the cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

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