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ULMWP Welcomes Deputy PM Napat's Support for West Papua

The recent visit of Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Foreign Affairs Minister, Jotham Napat, in West Papua has been welcomed by Benny Wenda, the Interim President of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Provisional Government. During a joint press conference with Ma’ruf Amin, Indonesia’s counterpart, Napat made a comment about the Melanesian way, which resonated with Wenda.

Wenda expressed his appreciation for Napat’s reference to the Melanesian way and drew a parallel to the words of Walter Lini, the founding Father of Vanuatu, who stated that Vanuatu would not be entirely free from colonial rule until West Papua and Kanaky were included.

He highlighted the application of the Melanesian way in the full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), which was extended to the Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), despite them representing a Melanesian people rather than a Melanesian state.

Furthermore, Wenda pointed to Papua New Guinea’s approach to Bougainville as an example of the Melanesian way in action.

He commended PNG Prime Minister Marape for demonstrating moral courage by offering a referendum and respecting the rights of the people of Bougainville to self-determination. Wenda emphasised that Vanuatu has consistently shown the same courage in supporting West Papua’s freedom.

Wenda said Napat’s referencing the Melanesian way in the joint press conference conveyed a powerful message to Indonesia, drawing a parallel to the biblical story of Moses and Pharaoh, saying, “Let my people go.”

The Interim President called upon all Melanesian leaders to demonstrate the same commitment and help bring West Papua back to its Melanesian family.

He stressed the need for Indonesia to respect Vanuatu and other Melanesian nations by allowing the fulfillment of West Papua’s decade-long dream. According to Wenda, resolving the West Papuan issue in the Melanesian way first requires acknowledging and admitting the ULMWP as a full member of the MSG.

He said as West Papuans, they are deeply committed to Melanesian values, which is why they are seeking full membership within their Melanesian family.

Wenda concluded by urging all Melanesian leaders to support this cause and help West Papua find its rightful place among its Melanesian kin.

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