Original article on The Vanuatu Daily Post
The decision by Prime Minister Sato Kilman and Leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to accept Indonesia is a mockery to the people of Vanuatu.
In an exclusive interview with West Papua international activist now Vanuatu citizen, Andy Ayamiseba said PM Kilman has betrayed the trust accorded to him by the people of Vanuatu, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
A poll conducted by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy in Melanesia has indicated that:
“The majority of Melanesians want independence for West Papua.”
“The majority of the Council of Ministers want Vanuatu vote against Indonesia being granted observership.”
“The Vanuatu Parliament approved that Vanuatu support an application for West Papua to be a member of MSG.“
“Yet, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu agreed to the application of Indonesia being granted Observer Status in MSG. That’s a slap in the face of the people of Vanuatu,” Mr Ayamiseba said in the wake of announcement that MSG had agreed to Indonesia’s application way back in March 15.
This meant that the Council of Ministers meeting which National United Party President, Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini chaired on March 24 which gave clear directions to PM Kilman not to accept Indonesia in MSG was meaningless.
Finance Minister Moana Carcasses and Justice Minister Ralph Regenvanu attended a press conference last Friday where Mr Carcasses publicly said that the Council of Ministers had decided for Vanuatu not to accept Indonesia.
“How could Melanesia accept a country who has killed more than 600, 000 Melanesians over the last 50 years sit with Melanesians in the MSG. Indonesia has been intimidating, torturing and killing Melanesians over half a century and now MSG has accepted them. MSG should be called Asian Spearhead Group,” a frustrated Ayamiseba said.
West Papua is not an Indonesian issue. It is an international issue and Indonesia cannot be invited to MSG because it’s a clear conflict of interest.
“West Papua is not a small rock like East Timor. West Papua is the energy power house of the world. For that reason West Papua is very important in the eyes of the world. Not Indonesia,” Mr Ayamiseba said.
If the MSG leaders understand global politics and want dialogue to effect change then dialogue with the Americans because the Americans have business interests in West Papua, not Indonesia, Mr Ayamiseba said.
He attacked the Joint Development Programme established between Jakarta and Port Vila that it would work only to boost Indonesian interests in Vanuatu but we will not benefit from it.
“Did Papua New Guinea benefit from the same programme it established with Indonesia many years ago? No.” Mr Ayamiseba said.
Nearly all the Vanuatu Prime Ministers after Independence were very vocal on the West Papua cause. The late Father Walter Lini was very vocal on to issue of West Papua, former Vanuatu Prime Minister Barak Sope raised the West Papua issue at the Millennium Summit, former PM Serge Vohor raised the issue internationally. Deputy PM Lini pushed for West Papua to be given obervership in 2008 when he was Vanuatu PM.
And more recently, former PM Edward Natapei moved a motion in support of West Papua in Parliament that was seconded by the then Opposition Leader, Maxime Carlot Korman, who was also a former Vanuatu PM, and now Speaker of Parliament.
By Ricky Binihi