The trip was agreed to at last year's MSG leaders summit in New Caledonia, with the purpose of assessing the situation on the ground in the Indonesian Province of Papua, and what support there was from indigenous groups there for the West Papua Liberation Movement to be given MSG membership. But soon after that reports appeared that some MSG member governments, in particular the military backed regime in Fiji, were backing away from that agreement and were pushing for a change in the purpose of that mission. Just days before the mission was set to leave its agenda was released, and when Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Edward Natapei saw its purpose had been changed to attend meetings with the government in Jakarta, including the signing of a trade agreement, with less than a day to be spent in Papua, he announced he would not be going. That decision has been commended by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, which is based in Vanuatu. The Vanuatu government has said any agreement signed in Jakarta by the delegation will be on an individual basis rather than on behalf of the MSG. The MSG Secretariat has also refused to comment on Vanuatu's dismissal of the Indonesian trip, saying it does not comment on the positions or policies of its members.
Presenter: Hilaire Bule
John Ondowame, Vice Chairman of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation