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Solomon Islands Advocates for West Papua at PIF

Solomon Islands Advocates for West Papua at PIF Leaders' Retreat

Solomon Islands will raise the issue of West Papua at the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ (PIF's) Retreat scheduled for today.

Solomon Islands Government Special Envoy on West Papua Hon Matthew Wale told a Press Conference last night that the Solomon Islands delegation to this year's PIF came to the meeting with three objectives on the issue of West Papua and these will be raised by Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare at the Leaders' retreat.

The three objectives are:

• To support the application by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua to be admitted to the Pacific Islands Forum on an Observer Status;

• To urge Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to support a resolution calling on the United Nations Secretary General to mandate the UN Human Rights Commissioner to conduct an assessment on the human rights situation in West Papua; and

• To seek a resolution by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders calling on the United Nations Decolonization Committee to reinstate West Papua in its decolonization list.

“We recognize that these issues are by no means easy to deal with but we see the time is right and feel the circumstances are also right in terms of public opinion and also there is more information out there now on the situation in West Papua and the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have a moral obligation to deal with these issues in a responsible manner," Mr Wale said.

At the Leaders' Retreat, Prime Minister Hon Sogavare will be raising these issues and what transpires from the retreat discussions will determine what goes into the outcome statement of the 46th Pacific Islands Forum.

Hon Wale said the Solomon Islands delegation is hopeful that on all its three objectives, it will achieve an affirmative result.

"The Solomon Islands Government understands there is sensitivity on the issue of West Papua to the security of the Pacific, especially to Papua New Guinea having shared a common border and also trade between the Pacific Forum member countries and Indonesia”.

"As you know international diplomacy is never conducted on moral grounds and so this turns to complicate matters. However we feel because of the issues facing the indigenous people of West Papua, the moral imperative far outweighs any other considerations and we are hopeful that the leaders will rise to the challenge of making the right decisions on these issues,” Wale said.

He said West Papuans are part of Melanesia and the Pacific and therefore their issues are relevant to be dealt with by the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Meanwhile the PNG Prime Minister and Chair to the 46th PIF Meeting Hon Peter O'Neil told the Press that issues discussed yesterday at the Ministers and Officials level will be discussed in detail at the Leaders' Retreat today after which the outcome statement will be issued.


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