Melanesian Spearhead Group Members Praise West Papua Developments

MSG is not only cooperating with countries in the Pacific region alone, but also working with the Indonesian government. It was proven on the 18th MSG Summit in March 2011 in Suva, Fiji, that Indonesia for the first time was accepted as an observer. It is expected that with the status of an observer in the MSG, Indonesia will be able to work together more closely and to contribute to the countries members of the MSG.

On 13-21 June 2013 MSG Leaders Summit 19th have been held in Nouméa, New Caledonia and Indonesia was represented by the Minister of Politic, Law and Security, Djoko Suyanto. During the meeting ,the Chairman of MSG, Frank Bainimarama, who is also the Prime Minister of Fiji states that he acknowledged Papua and West Papua as a part of Indonesia. So that at the Summit MSG, the arrival of a group of new organization called West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), represented by John Otto Ondawame, Andy Ayamiseba, Rex Rumakiek, Paula Makabory, and Barack T. Sope will not be given privileges because they were invited as fellow Melanesians and does not accommodate any political interests. WPNCL presence does not represent any political decision on the status of Papua, although the WPNCL forum has been given time to present their views on the general situation. At the MSG Leaders Summit, the Coordinating Minister extended an invitation on behalf of the Indonesian government to MSG delegation to come to Jakarta and Jayapura in order to observe directly the lives of the people of Papua. MSG members approve the invitation and will come for a visit to Indonesia in August 2013.

On August 8, 2013 the Solomon Island delegation arrived in Jayapura to attend the MSG forum meeting in Jayapura. The delegation was very surprised over what they’ve witnessed during their visit in Papua. The conditions is very different from the reports received from WPNCL. There are mentions of many human rights violations committed by the Indonesian military, poverty and ignorance everywhere. Instead, they saw that Papua is already developed and developing, as well as many prominent native born people who have become leaders in their region, both at the Central Government, Local Government, Institutions, as well as the military and police leaders. For this reason the Solomon Island delegation strongly supports West Papua to be a part of Indonesia. The MSG delegation felt deceived by WPNA as well as the WPNCL, because the reports that have been delivered at the meeting of MSG regarding Papua are not right. Turns out Papua have indeed received the proper attention from the Government of Indonesia. MSG delegation emphatically stated that Papua should not be separated from Indonesia. The results of this visit to Papua were then reported to the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands who visited Jakarta on August 12, 2013.
On August 12, 2013 during the visit of Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister , Gordon Darcy Lilo  to Indonesia, he also gave his praise to the West Papua developments that have been carried out by the Indonesian government in the efforts to resolve the Papua issue. He also conveyed his surprise over the recent developments in Papua. The positive impression of the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands was also accompanied by the hope that the people of Papua could be better prepared, have better capacity building as well as overcoming the basic issues of poverty and better life.

west papua developments
Jayapura mall in Jayapura.

The Cooperation between Indonesia and MSG countries have actually been initiated since long before. The Prime Minister and the delegations of one of the MSG member countries during the visit to Indonesia praised the economic development in Indonesia in general, and Papua, in particular. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter Charles Paire O’Neill, on June 17, 2013 also expressed his positive impression during his visit to Indonesia. In a meeting at the Presidential Palace, President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister O’Neill agreed to continue to enhance cooperation between the two countries. In that state visit, 11 forms of cooperation were agreed upon between Indonesia and PNG, regarding border-related problems, education, air transport, extradition, natural resources, tourism and youth and sports.


Mayor Vanimo (PNG), Mr. Jerry Kina during his visit to Papua also appreciates the rapid West Papua developments, as this will also affect PNG citizens who are in PNG-Indonesian borders. Nowadays a lot of citizens of PNG have crossed over to Indonesian territory to trade, especially food. In Papua is the price of goods is cheaper compared to PNG. This greatly contributed to rapid development in Papua, as well as the welfare of the community.


In addition to cooperation in the fields of trade and economy, Indonesia also has  multilateral cooperation with MSG in the fields of politics, law and security. This was evident on 7-8 January 2014, where Secretary of the Coordinating Ministry of Politic, Law and Security, Lt. Gen. Langgeng Sulistiyono, with delegates in a visitation to Suva, Fiji, for delivering development aid for the Regional Police Academy Melanesian Spearhead Group.


One of the decisions made in MSG Leaders Summit 19th that was held on June 19, 2013 is visitation from Noumea, New Caledonia, to Indonesia in January 2014 in the framework of “Promoting Economic Ties & Development Cooperation”. This is because the member countries have viewed Indonesia’s rapid economic and development growth, especially in Papua. Moreover, they also considered Indonesia as very positive in imposing the special autonomy law that respects the rights of indigenous Papuans. As much as 98 percent of government officials in Papua and West Papua is Papua native. In fact, the Special Autonomy Law, expressly stipulate that only Papua native could be chosen as governor in these two easternmost province of Indonesia.

MSG also views Indonesia very serious in terms of advancing Papua with programs that support development. The supports and praises from the delegation of MSG and some of its Prime Ministers shows how the Government of Indonesia together with the local government and other institutions have been working well to promote the welfare of Papua. However, the uniqueness of Papua culture, traditions and language as well as the diversity of cultural expressions continue to be maintained and preserved. There has also been preparations for  the formation of Autonomy Plus, Unit Acceleration of Development of Papua and West Papua (UP4B), and a variety of programs to promote education. When viewed from the results of the study KPwBI (Bank Indonesia Representative Office), the Papua economic growth has been exciting. It has reached up to 17.58 percent, which is larger than the national economic growth, which is around 5.62 percent. Thus, the MSG delegation visit to Indonesia, especially to Papua, will be able to see with their own eyes on the real developments in Papua. It is only normal that the MSG countries visit to Indonesia would be made as a development model, as well as developing good cooperation in the regional area.


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