by Samantha Semoso – EM TV Online
Indonesia’s bid to become an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has been supported by Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
Bainimarama confirmed In an interview with Fiji journalists in Iwaki, Japan, that having Indonesia as an associate member made sense, given the population in Papua is more than 11 million Melanesian people in Indonesia.
Bainimarama said Fiji will not interfere in Indonesia’s sovereignty.
“There is a whole lot of talk about Papua and the alleged human rights abuse by Indonesia, but know that Papua comes under the Governance of Indonesia and if you want to do anything in Papua, it will be best dealt with if Indonesia is allowed in the MSG bloc, no matter what, if we bring in Papua separately, it doesn’t make sense.”
Papua comes under the sovereignty and the last thing we want to do is to interfere with someone else’s sovereignty. As our foreign policy says- “We are friends to all and enemies to none.”
“We don’t want to make enemies and I am sure if we talk to Indonesia about some of these allegations they will do something about it- it make sense.” said Bainimarama.
A decision on the issue will be decided when the Melanesian Leaders will meet in Solomon Islands in July.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, earlier this month backed a move by Indonesia to become an associate member of the MSG.
Indonesia would be represented by the Governors of its five Eastern Provinces, with substantial Melanesian populations at meetings of the MSG.
The MSG compromises the Governments of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the pro-independence indigenous party representing the Melanesian Kanaks of New Caledonia.