Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, yesterday afternoon said he has had to bend over backwards at times for the sake of stability in order to honour the memorandum of understanding of May 2014 that binds the government he leads together.
“Obviously, those efforts have not been appreciated by the PPP leader,” said Prime Minister Natuman yesterday afternoon.
Daily Post was told in a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office that last week the former minister expressed his desire to the leader of the G16 group and NUP President Ham Lini, that he wanted to move over to the other side of the house.
“I have simply honoured Mr Kilman’s wishes because it was becoming obvious that Mr Kilman no longer wanted to support me as prime minister,” Natuman said.
The prime minister’s office said the following are some of the reasons for the termination:
“In his recent trip to Indonesia on behalf of Prime Minister Natuman for the 60th Asian – African Conference he misrepresented the collective position of the government.
“As foreign minister, he was well aware of the strong position of Vanuatu towards the West Papuans’ struggle and their bid to become members of the MSG.
“Nonetheless, he ventured even to suggest that the government was “preparing to open an embassy in Jakarta”.
“This was not our position and he should have consulted us before making such a public announcement to the Indonesian media,” Prime Minister Natuman said.
The government revealed MP Kilman also tried to lobby for Mr Dennis Nai, former Vanuatu Ambassador to China who was terminated by the last Moana-led government, to become the new Ambassador of Vanuatu in Jakarta.
“We believe Mr Nai has questions to answer over some of his activities while serving in our Embassy in China,” says Mr Natuman.
The government said it was also weary of Mr Kilman’s alleged close connections to Asian individuals including Kevin Lai who was recently arrested by police in Thailand.
“Secondly, during his recent visit to Russia, our information is that he entertained a visit from a ‘so-called’ foreign minister of Abkhazia when our position all along is that, Abkhazia is part of Georgia, which we have bilateral relations with.
“This position is consistent with that of the European Union and the rest of the Western world including the US.
“The EU have provided Vanuatu government much needed budgetary support and the EU Commissioner of International Cooperation and Development who is arriving next week will be signing further funding support.
“Mr Kilman obviously did not support or cared to uphold our position during his last visit to Russia.
“Politically, Mr Kilman’s PPP benefited more compared to other coalition partners.
“They had Foreign Affairs, Health, Government Whip, and First Deputy Speaker’s positions,” the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The prime minister however, said he is deeply appreciative of Luganville MP George Wells who has remained with the government.
He thanked him for his commitment and support for the government to see out its term.
Prime Minister Natuman said he has had to bend the rules of good practice in order to accommodate the interests of Mr Kilman and his People’s Progressive Party in the chairmanship of the Central Tenders Board, which was a highly technical position.