Len Garae – Mr. Morris Kaloran, the Interim Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), has been praised by Fijians for his successful intervention techniques during the latest Lobby Team efforts.
Mr. Kaloran urged Vanuatu to "pull up its socks" or Fiji would score (a goal) in the next Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Summit in Port Vila.
After listening attentively to the Interim President of ULMWP Benny Wenda deliver his appeal, Prime Minister (PM) Sitiveni Rabuka was reported to have said, "In 1989 before Fiji became a full member of MSG, as the Prime Minister at the time, I applied for Fiji to become an Observer and from there, we became a full member".
Mr. Kaloran encouraged him to use Fiji's approach to push ULMWP's Application to enter MSG, which PM Rabuka found impressive. He suggested to the Lobby Team to start by talking to the Paramount Chiefs of Fiji, only to find out that they had already met with them. The Paramount Chiefs have already invited the Lobby Team to attend their Great Council of Chiefs Meeting in May.
Mr. Kaloran explained to PM Rabuka how the Prime Minister of Vanuatu will be petitioned by the chiefs through custom to contribute towards the culmination of their request to enter MSG.
The Interim Deputy Minister, who is married to a Fijian woman from the vicinity of Rewa, returned to Port Vila after a week of lobbying the three pillars of Fiji Society: the Paramount Chiefs of the three Regions of Fiji, the Suva-based Pacific Council of Churches, and the Fiji Government. The Fijians treated them well, and even their political parties have youth representatives who met with them during their lobbying efforts.
The Interim Deputy Foreign Minister praised how the Fijians treated them and their thorough preparations for ULMWP across the board.
The Fijians met them at the airport with relevant Government Officials, provided official transport to all their venues based on their itinerary, and paid for all their meals.
Though the Prime Minister was too busy with the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) in Suva, he still made time to meet with them in Nadi.
The Interim Deputy Foreign Minister stated, "Perhaps what we in Vanuatu should learn from Fiji is that when such leaders come to meet certain leaders in Government, the Ministry responsible should immediately connect with the relevant Ministries to cater for such meetings".
He suggested more practical support for ULMWP, including fundraising activities such as in Australia, Holland, and elsewhere.
Mr. Kaloran suggested that the Vanuatu Government provide diplomatic passports for Mr. Wenda's team, as they carry Australian and British passports. He said that Vanuatu provided funding for uniting the major factions of West Papua to form ULMWP in 2014.