- SolomonStarNews.com – Published: 16 December 2016
PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has include Micronesia, Polynesia, and African countries to fight against human rights violations in West Papua.
Mr Sogavare explained this in Parliament when asked by Opposition Leader, Jeremiah Manele on Thursday.
He said Papua New Guinea and Fiji have taken different stand on this issue and did not want to follow the purpose and stand of MSG.
“PNG shares the same border with Indonesia and want to take cautious and Fiji has fixed connections with Indonesia,” Mr Sogavare said.
“Therefore, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia will include the Micronesia and Polynesia countries ply non alliance group in Africa,” he said.
Furthermore, Mr Sogavare said the government will continue with the shuttle diplomacy of sending the envoy to consult and engage in Pacific countries.
“We send our envoy to talk with the leaders within our own circle and outside of Melanesia,” the MSG chair said.
Rex Horoi is the Solomon Islands’ special envoy to West Papua.
Mr Sogavare said the envoy’s term will end after his two years with MSG lapses.
However, he wants to take it up to Parliament to find ways to continue after the chair of MSG ends.
Opposition leader, Mr Manele said it’s a complex issue because it involves self-determination and human rights.
However, he said this is the first time for the government to take a proactive step on this policy.
“It’s important for Indonesia to understand our position,” Mr Manele said.
“I hope the engagement and consultation go on, can help Indonesia to understand where we are coming from,” he added.
“I guess it’s advisable for more engaging and consultative approach we continue to take on this matter, at the end of the day, not counter-productive,” he said.
Mr Manele supports the idea to continue with a policy in Parliament after the end of Mr Horoi’s term.
By EDDIE OSIFELO