Vanuatu needs to continue to maintain its strong support for West Papua by ensuring that the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP)’s application for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is listed on the agenda for consideration during the MSG Leaders Meeting soon.
Leader of Opposition and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ralph Regenvanu, made this statement in a press conference yesterday.
ULMWP’s application for full membership status was not considered at the Senior Officials Meeting, the first of three meetings that will happen, he said.
“While I was still the Foreign Affairs Minister, I attended the last MSG Meeting in Fiji. At that meeting, the MSG Leaders accepted that the application of ULMWP was ready to be considered at the next MSG Leaders Meeting,” the Leader of Opposition said.
“Now we are in the process leading up to the next meeting.
“The fact that it was not on the agenda at the Senior Officials Meeting suggest that no one has put it on the agenda.
“Therefore, I’m calling onto the Prime Minister to make sure Vanuatu places that item on agenda for consideration and also for him to come out publicly and declare that Vanuatu will support the application for ULMWP membership.
“I would like for the Vanuatu Government to push strongly to make sure the application is accepted.”
Regenvanu said a lot of work was done during his term as the Foreign Affairs Minister that has attracted the international community to deal with the human rights issues in West Papua.
“There has been no further progress than what we already accomplished in 2019. This is an opportunity for the government to show that it is maintaining the strong support for West Papua through getting MSG to approve ULMWP application.”
Vanuatu needs to advocate strongly with other MSG countries to make sure the agenda is passed, said the Opposition Leader.
ULMWP already has observer status in the regional group whose full members are Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s Kanaks.