FIJI: Bainimarama supports Indonesia’s bid for associate MSG membership

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Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama. Fiji's Bainimarama says including Indonesia will solve Papuan human rights issues. Image: PMC.

MIL OSI Analysis – Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch

Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama. Fiji's Bainimarama says including Indonesia will solve Papuan human rights issues. Image: PMC.
Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama. Fiji’s Bainimarama says including Indonesia will solve Papuan human rights issues. Image: PMC.

Item: 9284

Pita Ligaiula
IWAKI, Japan (Pacnews/ Pacific Media Watch): Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has supported Indonesia’s bid to become an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

In an interview with Fiji journalists in Iwaki, Japan, Bainimarama confirmed that having Indonesia as an associate member made sense given that a large population of Melanesians were living in Indonesia.

Fiji would not interfere in Indonesia’s sovereignty.

“There is a whole lot of talk about Papua but you know Papua comes under the governance of Indonesia and if you want to do anything in Papua, the best thing to do is to bring in Indonesia, no matter what. If we bring in Papua separately, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

“Indonesia will continue to do what it wants to do. We have heard talks of assault, human rights abuses and the best thing to do is to bring in Indonesia as an associate member of the MSG.”.

He said the issue of alleged human rights abuse by Indonesia will best to be dealt with if Indonesia is allowed in the MSG bloc.

Human rights abuses
“There is a lot of concern about what is happening in Papua but at the end of the day, Papua comes under the sovereignty of Indonesia and the last thing we want to do is to interfere with someone else’s sovereignty,” he said.

“As our foreign policy says, ‘We are friends to all and enemies to none”.

Bainimarama said Fiji did not want to make enemies and he was sure that if Indonesia was talked to about some of the human rights allegations, “they will do something about it”.

It is expected a decision on the issue will be decided when the Melanesian leaders meet in the Solomon Islands in July.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill earlier this month backed a move by Indonesia to become an associate member of the MSG.

Indonesia would be represented by the governors of its five eastern provinces with substantial Melanesian populations at meetings of the MSG.

The MSG comprises the governments of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the pro-independence indigenous party representing the Melanesian Kanaks of New Caledonia.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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