The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Special Leaders Summit scheduled to be held in Port Vila next week has been postponed to a date yet to be confirmed.
Daily Post understands the MSG Special Leaders Summit will no longer be held from May 3-5 as initially planned and provisional dates (subject to change) may be May 30 to June 3, 2016 depending on the availability and commitments of the Leaders.
This will be a blow to Vanuatu’s Free West Papua Association organized public march today, which was planned to happen on the brink of the MSG Leaders’ Summit but will strengthen the support and determination nationwide.
On Tuesday, Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun that he won’t be attending the MSG meeting in Port Vila as he would be attending the Queen’s birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle in London with Fiji’s Military Forces Band.
PM Bainimarama who said the appointment of Fijian diplomat Amena Yauvoli as MSG Director General would be discussed in the upcoming MSG Leaders’ meet also noted that Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea have questioned the system used to appoint Mr. Yauvoli.
He further indicated that Fiji’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Inoke Kubuabola as likely to represent Fiji in the MSG meeting.
In 2015 then Prime Minister Sato Kilman did not attend the MSG Leaders’ Summit in Honiara, Solomon Islands due to political developments and sent an envoy in his absence.
Nevertheless, the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai has frankly confirmed its intention to see Indonesia out of the MSG and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) gain full membership into MSG.
The process of the appointment of the new MSG DG has also come under scrutiny, an issue raised by PM Salwai and this week Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill wrote to the chair of the MSG, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare saying the process of consensus through the MSG Leaders Summit by all members must be completed before such appointments can be announced.
Vanuatu Free West Papua Committee members Lai Sakita and Jacob Kintor are calling on “all real men, women and youths” to come out of their facebook comfort zones, to join the public march in Port Vila this morning, to demand the Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders to give full membership of MSG to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), and terminate Indonesia from the Sub Regional Organisation.
The march starts at Fung Kuei car park opposite Anchor Inn, along the Lini Highway to the MSG Secretariat at Independence Park this morning.
All marchers are asked to gather at the car park at 7.30am.
“The aim of the peaceful march is to show our civil society organisation support for the unification of the Melanesian countries of Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, including the non-self-governing territories of Kanaky and West Papua and to call for MSG to upgrade West Papua bid to full member,” the invitation from the West Papua Office explains.
The two members made the call on behalf of the Chairman, Pastor Allan Nafuki, for all responsible people of Port Vila from throughout Vanuatu and round Efate, to join the march from Fung Kuei car park to the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat, to hand over a public petition to the MSG Leaders.
The petition which is signed by thousands of people, demands MSG to do what is right and make the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) a full member of MSG.
Indonesia has been granted Associate Membership of MSG, an act which the marchers see as a mockery to Vanuatu’s traditional stand for freedom for West Papua. The marchers want to see Indonesia’s Associate Membership cancelled.
Sakita says expressing one’s firm support for West Papuans’ Right and Freedom is one thing but real people are those who come out to stand up for what they believe in.
“While we appreciate your brave words of support for West Papua on fb, we want all of you to prove what you say by coming out to join in this peaceful march to confirm you mean business for the people of West Papua,” Sakita says.
The committee says they are considering means to make sure only local media personnel and those that they know, are allowed to take pictures.
They expect the event will be of significant interests to “strangers” as well, who they advise, should think twice before snapping pictures of the march.