The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has adopted a fresh approach in addressing the longstanding West Papuan issue, as confirmed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare upon his return from the UNGA in New York last week.
During his arrival today, he provided clarification to the local media regarding the omission of the West Papuan issue from his discussions at the UN level this time.
Prime Minister Sogavare said, "We have agreed during our last MSG meeting in Port Vila not to pursue independence for West Papua. Pursuing independence at the MSG level has historically led to unnecessary human rights violations against the people of West Papua, as it becomes closely linked to the independence movement."
Instead, he highlighted that the MSG's new strategy involves initiating a dialogue with the Indonesian government. The focus is on treating the people of West Papua as part of Melanesia and urging the government of Indonesia to respect them accordingly.
He further explained, "The issue of independence and self-determination is a domestic matter that West Papua needs to address internally. The United Nations (C-24) has established a process allowing them the right to determine their self-determination."
The United Nations C-24, known as the Special Committee on Decolonization, was established in 1961 to address decolonization issues. This committee, a subsidiary of the UN General Assembly, is dedicated to matters related to granting independence to colonial countries and peoples.
Prime Minister Sogavare's statements underscore the MSG's commitment to a diplomatic approach and dialogue with Indonesia, aiming for a respectful and inclusive resolution to the West Papuan issue.
Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Opposition leader Matthew Wale has echoed disappointment with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare statement on right to self determination at the United Nation's General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Sogavare last week addressed UNGA, stating that Solomon Islands reaffirmed the right to self-determination as enshrined under the UN Charter.
Whilst New Caledonia and French Polynesia were highlighted, Wale said it was sad that the plight of West Papua was not included.
The Opposition Leader said both the FLNKS and West Papuans are Melanesian peoples and both desire independence.
He said West Papua has been under very oppressive schematic & systematic Indonesian colonial rule, far worse than anything New Caledonia has suffered.
"We are Melanesians and we should always stand hand in hand with our brothers and sisters in West Papua," he said.
Wale said diplomacy and geopolitics should never cloud our solidarity with our Melanesian people of West Papua.
The Opposition Leader said it was sad that Sogavare, who used to be a strong supporter of the West Papuan cause, has changed face.
"The Prime Minister was once a strong supporter of West Papua, a very vocal leader against the human rights atrocities even at the UNGA and international forums in the past.
"For sure, he has been bought for 30 pieces of silver and has clearly changed face," Wale said.
He also reiterated his call to MSG leaders to rethink their stand on West Papua.
"The Prime Minister should have maintained Solomon Islands stand on West Papua like he used to.
"Sogavare is no different to Judas the Iscariot," Wale said.