The people of West Papua have repeatedly voiced the demand for peace talks between West Papua and the Indonesian Central government since the beginning of the Indonesian reformation period. Various peace building initiatives, such as the road map created by the Papuan Peace Network JDP and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences LIPI, have so far failed to get both conflict parties on one table. A recent MSG meeting on 16 June brings new hope for peace in the long lasting conflict between both parties. The Melanesian Spearhead Group had invited a senior delegation from Indonesia and representatives of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
MSG Foreign Ministers meeting chairman, George Milner Tozaka said it is important to get both parties on one table since Indonesia as well as the ULMWP intend to become a full member to the MSG. He further said the MSG can become a mediating platform for open dialogue between the ULMWP and Indonesia. Currently, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua was granted a status as observer, while Indonesia was accorded associate membership. The application for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group submitted by the ULMWP and Indonesia has been referred to the legal committee. Mr Tozaka also stated that Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) would examine whether both parties would meet the requirements and criteria for the MSG membership.
The MSG is structured in three levels, the highest of which was the Leaders Summit, then the Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting and the Senior Officials Meeting. The Senior Officials Meeting will submit their report to the Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting, before it will be taken up to the Leaders Summit in Honiara on July 14.
Foto with MSG delegation members, including the Indonesia representative Desra Percaya (left) and the ULMWP representative Rex Rumakiek (right)