PM likens West Papuans to Kanaks movement

​Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed the participation of West Papua in the Melanesian Spearhead Group Summit which will begin on Thursday in the Solomon Islands.

However, he said what the MSG leaders will be focusing on is to try and find the right organisation that is going to represent them at MSG.

He said in order for that to happen, West Papua leaders must be elected, mandated and properly appointed to participate in the MSG.

“We cannot expect anybody coming up from the streets and telling us that we represent these groups of people,” he said  

However, O’Neill emphasised that “we have to do it properly and that is in an orderly manner that we want to allow our brothers and sisters in West Papua to participate.

“Nobody is trying to deny them a seat on the table. We all want them to have a seat just like we have done on the Kanaks of New Caledonia.

“We must have a structure that is going to do so,” he said.

O’Neill said his discussion with the President of Indonesia Widodo during his recent visit to PNG was to get the elected leaders of the five provinces of Papua who represented more than 11 million Papuans to participate in the MSG.

He said he will further discuss this issue with other MSG leaders at the summit and make decisions consistently on what has been previously discussed.

He stressed that the Kanaks group is a good example that they will use as a basis for allowing the West Papuan leaders to participate in the MSG.