Commenting in his capacity as Acting Prime Minister last Friday on the outcome of West Papua’s application for full membership of the MSG at last week’s 19th MSG Leaders Summit, Ralph Regenvanu said that for him it was disappointing as it was for a lot of ni-Vanuatu.
The 19th Leaders’ Summit of the sub-regional Melanesian organization, grouping Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, the FLNKS of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, for the first time discussed the issue of West Papuan independence at its plenary session, but failed to agree on the application for full membership for West Papua. It however, agreed to defer a decision on the application for six months until after an MSG Foreign Ministerial group visited to Jarkata and West Papua on the invitation of the Indonesia Government to view situation on the ground.
Despite that outcome, Regenvanu said it must be clear that the Vanuatu Government was successful in pushing the West Papua issue onto the agenda of the MSG where it was discussed for the first time. He said it was obvious there had been a lot of lobbying by the other members of the MSG and in the end Vanuatu had to go along with the consensus position, which was always the custom of the grouping.