Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has taken the opportunity to clarify recent reports concerning his meeting with Indonesian President H.E. Joko Widodo on Thursday, September 7, 2023, in Jakarta regarding the West Papua issue. In an effort to rectify any misinformation and alleviate concerns raised within Melanesian Solidarity Group (MSG) countries, West Papua, Indonesia, and the international community, Prime Minister Marape issued a statement addressing the inaccuracies.
“An earlier statement released without consent wrongfully said that at the recently-concluded MSG Leaders’ Summit in Port Vila, Vanuatu, I informed leaders of PNG’s abstaining from supporting the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) bid for full membership, plus a notation that human rights issues in West Papua are of no concern to PNG. I wish to clarify these misconstrued assertions.”
Prime Minister Marape corrects that , “Papua New Guinea never abstained from West Papua matters at the MSG meeting, but rather, offered solutions that affirmed Indonesian sovereignty over her territories and at the same time supported the collective MSG position to back the Pacific Islands Forum Resolution of 2019 on United Nations to assess if there are human right abuses in West Papua and Papua provinces of Indonesia.”
Regarding his meeting with President Widodo, Prime Minister Marape highlighted, “In the meeting with President Widodo, we stressed our respect for Indonesian sovereignty and their territorial rights, but on matters of human rights, I pointed out the collective Melanesian and Pacific resolutions for the United Nations to be allowed to ascertain these allegations. I also relayed the message that four leaders of Melanesian countries resolved to visit him at his convenience to discuss this matter on Human rights”.
He further revealed, “President Widodo responded that the MSG leaders are welcome to meet him and invited them to an October meeting subject on the availability of all leaders. He assured me that all is okay in the two Papuan provinces and invited other PNG leaders to visit these provinces.”
Prime Minister Marape indicated that at a senior leadership level, led by Deputy Prime Minister Hon. John Rosso, “PNG leaders can visit West Papua and look into these matters and see firsthand what is happening so we ascertain facts on matters in respect to human rights”.
“When matters concerning ULMWP’s application for membership was raised, I indicated that the presence of Indonesia on MSG as an Associate Member and ULMWP as observer is sufficient for the moment. MSG has placed a moratorium on new membership until the criteria for membership is reviewed,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“This clarification aims to clear misconceptions and apprehensions that may have been caused by an earlier misquoted press release that is doing the rounds.”