SI pushes West Papua issue a step further

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BY BEN BILUA

Minister Milner Tozaka standing second from left before the leaders went for the retreat.

SOLOMON Islands has successfully moved a new agenda and that is to include human rights on any agreement Pacific Island Countries signed with Indonesia during the recent Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon Milner Tozaka moved the agenda and was supported by Vanuatu and Tonga during the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Samoa.

Previously, the Bilateral agreement between Indonesia and Pacific Island countries only recognise trade relation but now human rights will be included to any relationship any countries in the pacific has with Indonesia.

In the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting communique, Leaders recognised the constructive engagement by the Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights in West Papua and Papua and to continue a dialogue in an open and constructive manner.

In an interview with Island Sun after the Leader Retreat at Taumeasina Island Resort in Apia, Samoa Hon Tozaka said Solomon Islands is happy that the West Papuan issue has been included in the communique.

He said Solomon Islands position on West Papua is still atop and will continue to seek further dialogue to present West Papua on top level discussion.

Minister Tozaka said Solomon Islands is pleased to have the support of Tonga and Vanuatu among others in pushing the West Papua issue to the floor for further discussion during the meeting.

While acknowledging that the West Papua issue is in the Communique he said the issue is still a long way to achieve and that there needs more support.

Minister Tozaka explained that there are growing number of Free-West Papua movements in many countries in the pacific region but the road to United Nation for presentation of ideas for West Papua depends on respective countries.

He said the present pacific island countries who supported West Papua have no chance to go as a group to the UN.

“We try to push for a collective effort for this West Papua issue, but what we get was that, individual countries can hold dialogue with UN,” Minister Tozaka said.

He said the West Papua issue is getting momentum given that leaders have put their vote to West Papua issue in the communique.

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