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Fiji and PNG are playing games over West Papua issue

Former Vanuatu Prime Minister Barak Sope (Johnny Blades)Radio New Zealand International

A FORMER prime minister of Vanuatu, Barak Sope, says the Melanesian Spearhead Group is becoming ineffective because of games being played by Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Sope (pictured) said this after a leaders’ summit for the regional group, originally scheduled for this week, was again postponed without explanation.

This comes as the MSG grapples with a bid for full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, a move opposed by Indonesia.

Barak Sope, a staunch advocate for West Papuan independence, said the MSG has become ineffective because Fiji and Papua New Guinea, which both support Indonesia, are dodging a decision.

"My view is that it's just a game between the government of PNG and the government of Fiji," he said.

"I think they're working with the Indonesians, and they're not supporting the Melanesian people in West Papua who want their independence. The postponements just keep on going on."

Mr Sope said the three remaining members of the MSG - Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia's FLNKS - should go ahead and make a decision without the other two.


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