West Papua Not Discussed By Summit &
Leaders Not Given West Papua Petition By SG Greg
Audio & Images: Helen Clark Post Forum Presser
From Scoop Co-Editor Alastair Thompson on Assignment in Papua New Guinea and the Solomons – Image by Jason Dorday
According to NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark The Pacific Forum leaders did not discuss the controversial issue of West Papua at their summit in Madang, in spite of an expectation before the forum by both herself and the Secretary General that they would do so.
[CLARIFICATION: In a subsequent interview with Greg Urwin Scoop has learned that the reports were forwarded to the delegations of each leader with a covering letter. So while they were not presented to the leaders, as the West Papuan's had expected they would be, they were provided to each Pacific delegation.]
The news will be a blow to the Free West Papua movement who are staging a rally today outside on Ella Beach near the conference venue.
Earlier this week the Secretary General Greg Urwin met representatives from West Papua at a meeting of Civil Society in Port Moresby.
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For Full Background see... Scoop Talks To Two West Papuan Freedom Fighters
As the image above shows Mr Urwin was presented with a bilum full of reports on the current situation in West Papua and asked to share them with Pacific Leaders at the summit.
While the issue of West Papua's struggle for independence from Indonesia was not on the formal agenda Ms Clark and Mr Urwin told media that they expected the issue to come up, both at the summit and then later in the post forum dialogues with Indonesia and other regional powers.
Today Ms Clark told NZ media that she had expected the issue to be raised by the representatives from Vanuatu or the Solomons as both nations have raised in the past. Had they done so New Zealand would have been happy to contribute to the discussion.
However, as they did not do so the issue was not discussed, she said.
Among the other issues
discussed in the standup Press Conference – audio links
follow - - were:
- The Pacific Plan
- Labour Mobility
- The adequacy of NZ and Australian funding for a possible Avian Bird Flu epidemic