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Biden promises more spending for Pacific island nations

Alex Willemyns for RFA and Stephen Wright for BenarNews



President Joe Biden stands with Pacific Islands Forum leaders at the White House in Washington, Sept. 25, 2023.
 Susan Walsh/AP

Updated at 11:27 p.m. ET on 2023-09-25

President Joe Biden called on Congress to approve an additional U.S. $200 million of assistance for Pacific island nations, the latest move in his administration’s push to counter Chinese influence in a region crucial to U.S. defense.

A slew of U.S. initiatives, largely conditional on Congressional approval, were announced Monday at the second U.S.-Pacific islands leaders summit in Washington in a year. The largest items were U.S. $64 million of development aid and U.S. $40 million for infrastructure.

The summit, which brought together 16 Pacific island nations as well as Australia and New Zealand, was not attended by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has pulled his country close to China since severing ties with Taiwan in 2019. Three days before the summit, Sogavare praised China’s infrastructure projects in the Solomon Islands in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 

“The U.S. should focus on coordinating its activities in the Pacific with established partners such as Australia, especially in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea,” said Mihai Sora, a Pacific analyst at the Lowy Institute, a think tank in Canberra, Australia. 

“The U.S. embassy in [Solomon Islands capital] Honiara appears to be making very little headway on its own with Prime Minister Sogavare, who time and again demonstrates his intent to privilege his relations with China,” said Sora, a former Australian diplomat.

Speaking alongside the Pacific island leaders after a morning meeting and a group photo at the White House, Biden said the United States was a committed friend and shared their concerns about the sea-level rise projected to occur this century.

“We hear your warnings of a rising sea, that it poses an existential threat to your nations,” Biden said, promising U.S $20 million for adaptation measures. “We hear your calls for reassurance that you never, never, never will lose your statehood, or membership with the U.N., as the result of a climate crisis.”

President Joe Biden (right) speaks with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown during a meeting with Pacific Islands Forum leaders during the U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Summit at the White House in Washington, Sept. 25, 2023. [Evan Vucci/AP]
The United States also recognized Niue and the Cook Islands, two self-governing states in free association with New Zealand that have growing ties with China. 

U.S. interest in Pacific island nations was galvanized in early 2022 after Beijing and the Solomon Islands signed a security pact that the U.S. and allies such as Australia fear could lead to a Chinese military presence in the region.

Since then the U.S. has agreed to increase its financial and economic assistance for Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau – three North Pacific countries that delegate their defense to Washington under longstanding compacts of free association. Subject to budget appropriations, the three nations would receive more than U.S. $7 billion over 20 years.

The first Pacific Islands-U.S. summit in September last year announced plans for more than U.S. $800 million in assistance to island nations over a decade. The figure included nearly tripling the payments tied to a tuna fishing treaty with Pacific nations to a total of U.S. $600 million between 2023 and 2033. 

A State Department spokesperson told BenarNews that the economic assistance agreement for the tuna payments went into effect this month and the first annual payment of U.S. $60 million would occur in mid-2024.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, who also is chairman of the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum, said he appreciated Biden’s proposals, but also cautioned that relations “cannot be restricted to annual summits.”

“It must be a years-long effort, working to an agreed plan of action and supported by requisite resources to deliver transformative actions,” Brown said. “Our gathering today is our joint commitment to elevating our efforts.” 

President Joe Biden hosts a summit with Pacific Island nation leaders in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Sept. 25, 2023. [Leah Millis/Reuters]
It is not assured that Congress will pass all the Pacific spending measures proposed by Biden’s administration in a timely fashion or approve them at all.

“It is unfortunate that President Biden has struggled to unlock most of the funding for Pacific initiatives announced over the last 12 months or so – including from the last U.S.-Pacific summit,” said Sora.

“This has put the U.S. in an awkward position. There is little to gain from the U.S. making new announcements until it starts to visibly deliver on its own commitments.”

Biden’s latest proposals also come as the Congress is deadlocked in last-minute talks to keep the U.S. government open past Saturday, underlining the possible gap between what political leaders promise and what the machinery of the U.S. government delivers. So far the Republican-led House has been unable to pass a budget even with heavy spending cuts as hardliners push for more penny-pinching.

That has left the Biden administration searching for other ways to woo the Pacific leaders, including a charm offensive taking advantage of the fact they were in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly.

On Sunday, Pacific leaders were assigned a special Amtrak train to travel from New York to Washington, with a side-trip to Baltimore.

In Baltimore, they were feted on the field during the Baltimore Ravens 22-19 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, before boarding a Coast Guard cutter to meet with Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan and discuss U.S. efforts to help counter illegal fishing in the Pacific.

This story was updated to add quotes and details throughout

‘Quit lip service’ and reshuffle PNG cabinet for nationa

Vice-Minister of Planning James Nomane has called on Prime Minister James Marape to put Papua New Guinea first and reshuffle cabinet to bring together the best of both government and opposition MPs.

In his 48th Independence message at the weekend, Nomane said that this Independence Day must trigger change in the way Marape’s administration had been running the government.

“In the last 12 months, the country’s socio-economic indicators have regressed,” he said.

“We just need to look at the lack of jobs, no medicine in hospitals, and the unprecedented crime wave.”

This was a reality check and an indictment on the government’s ability to manage the nation’s affairs as its elected leaders.

“All Members of Parliament must be honest and stop the lip service, stop promulgating clichรฉ, and stop the ill-conceived half-measures that have worsened the situation for our people,” Nomane said.

“On this Independence Day, I call on the Prime Minister to put the country first and do a complete cabinet reshuffle that brings the best of both government and opposition MPs together.

Plea for ‘suffering masses’
“The task is simple: in 3 months turn the situation around.

“This is an unprecedented plea on behalf of the suffering masses, the silent majority, and our progeny.

“The country is bigger than me and every other Member of Parliament. I am sick of the paradox that PNG is so rich, yet so poor.

“I am sick of the paralysis caused by the inimical political culture that promotes conformity and punishes those that disagree on policy.

“MPs vehemently debating on policy in public and sharing a meal afterwards has become a distant memory.

“This is synonymous with autocratic leadership, not a thriving democracy as envisioned by our forefathers and captured in our Constitution.

“The Prime Minister must change cabinet and get MPs who know how things work and can lead without fear or favour to drive the country’s development aspirations 48 years and beyond.

“The time has come for this 11th Parliament to live out the words of our national anthem: “O arise all ye sons of this land…”

Republished from the PNG Post-Courier with permission.

Marape calls for policies for a ‘better PNG’ in independence message

PNG Post-Courier

Prime Minister James Marape has reiterated his call for staff of the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council to “fully embrace their roles” as policy advisers to the government of Papua New Guinea.

In this week’s address on the eve of the 48th Independence celebrations today, Prime Minister Marape reminded the department’s staff that they must always keep in mind the people of Papua New Guinea whom they had been called to serve.

“As we commemorate our Independence, let us not forget those among us who are less fortunate,” he said.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that government policies are diligently implemented to create a better country for all our citizens, leaving no one behind.”

Prime Minister Marape also highlighted that his government’s policy agenda aligned with the Eight-Point Plan of the Constitution and the Seven Pillars of Vision 2050.

Spiritual, Cultural, and Community Development; and
Strategic Planning, Integration, and Control.
“These are the aspirations we must work tirelessly to achieve in our lifetime if we want future generations to thrive in a prosperous Papua New Guinea,” he urged.

Acknowledging the relatively short average life expectancy of approximately 72 years in the country, Prime Minister Marape said that it wsas incumbent upon everyone to redouble their efforts.

The Prime Minister also drew attention to the fact that public servants in Papua New Guinea made up less than 2 percent of the total workforce yet consumed about a third of the annual budget.

He called on the staff of the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council to not only excel in their roles but to also inspire their colleagues in other line agencies to do the same, ensuring that all Papua New Guineans would receive the service they deserved.

Melanesian-way leadership
In an editorial, the PNG Post-Courier was less rosy reflecting on the country’s political system since Independence from Australia in 1975.

“Without knowing what democracy was and what the Westminster system of government was, our people went to the first national general election in 1978,” the Post-Courier said.

“Since that election, and at every other later election, our people have incorporated the Melanesian Way of leadership into the new democracy we adopted and a home-grown system had flourished.

“The results we have today is the price we are paying.

“Compounding this is other underlying challenge like the integrity of the Electoral Roll that must be addressed.

“Another issue is the weak political party system we have. A small country, PNG has 46 registered political parties to date, each with their own policy platforms.

“It is a nightmare for the voters, no one bothered to get to know all the political parties well.”

PNG leader Marape denies Papua human rights comments were his

By Pacific Media WatchSeptember 11, 2023

RNZ Pacific

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has backtracked on his comments that PNG had “no right to comment” on human rights abuses in West Papua and has offered a clarification to “clear misconceptions and apprehension”.

Last week, Marape met Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN summit in Jakarta.

According to a statement released by Marape’s office, he revealed that he “abstained” from supporting the West Papuan bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders’ Summit held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, last month because the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) “does not meet the requirements of a fully-fledged sovereign nation”.

Marape claims PNG has ‘no right’ to criticise abuses in West Papua

However, on Saturday, his office again released a statement, saying that the statement released two days earlier had been “released without consent” and that it “wrongfully” said that he had abstained on the West Papua issue.

“Papua New Guinea never abstained from West Papua matters at the MSG meeting,” he said.

He said PNG “offered solutions that affirmed Indonesian sovereignty over her territories”, adding that “at the same time [PNG] 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.”

Marape said PNG stressed to President Widodo its respect for Indonesian sovereignty and their territorial rights.

Collective Melanesian, Pacific resolutions
“But on matters of human rights, I pointed out the collective Melanesian and Pacific resolutions for the United Nations to be allowed to ascertain [human rights] allegations.”

According to Marape the four MSG leaders have agreed to visit the Indonesian President “at his convenience to discuss this matter”.

The original James Marape "no right" report published by RNZ Pacific 

The original James Marape “no right” report published by RNZ Pacific last Friday. Image: RN Pacific screenshot APR

“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.”

Pacific Media Watch reports that there are actually currently six provinces in the West Papua region, not two, under Indonesia’s divide-and-rule policies.

Since 30 June 2022, the region has been split into the following provinces – Papua (including the capital city of Jayapura), Central Papua, Highland Papua, South Papua, Southwest Papua and West Papua.

Marape has also said that his deputy John Rosso was also expected to lead a delegation to West Papua to “look into matters in respect to human rights”.

Meanwhile, he believes the presence of Indonesia on MSG as an associate member and ULMWP as observer at the MSG “is sufficient for the moment”.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

Prime Minister, James Marape has taken the opportunity to clarify recent reports

Prime Minister, 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.”

A small piece for late Timothy Andrew

Some people study and practice the art of public speaking while a few are born, gifted with the true spirit of public speaking and productive entertainment skills.

His art of creativity is perfectly demonstrated in his decorative dressings and how he present himself formally or informal  infront of a huge crowd either on a traditional customary setting, music festival or even in church gatherings. He is always attractive and inviting to everyone. 

The tone of his voice will always set the right atmosphere that invites people from different tribes and cultures in Vanuatu to feel welcome and part of the event.

His passion and love for humanity opens door for him to work and associates himself with NGO, government sectors, business and music industries owners. He also mingle with individuals of all age group and genders setting broader network of friendships locally and globally.

The joke he would crack during shows intervals would blow the whole audience into laughter and excitement which can continue for more than 7-10 hours with no regrets.

Your uniqueness is widely seen as a  great composer of songs and rhymes, a creative script writer, a famous story teller, an outstanding actor for every age group, a humble church elder, a brave chief for the community and a father to a happy family.

 Above all you are one of the very best Master of Ceremony ever known in the history of Vanuatu. 

Your legacy will always be remembered for the many lives you have touched and the smiles you have cheered on the hearts of the people of Vanuatu will be forever treasured. ๐Ÿ–ค 

I believe late apu Timothy has seen the great potential in you that's why he gave you his name, Mr Timothy Andrew.

Sleep awhile wan onak ๐Ÿ˜ญ. When the roll is call up yonder, we hope to meet you upstairs. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Sleep easy wan onak.. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Moreh fongien fareh minuk..๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

PC: Niptik Jean Pierre

Criminal charges to be laid in relation to UBS loan – Manning issues warning against stirring public unrest


Thursday September 07, 2023

The Commissioner of Police, David Manning, has advised that the RPNGC is preparing to obtain warrants for the arrest of a number of individuals in relation to the State loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland in 2014.

The charges intended to be laid have come about following exhaustive investigations and the analysis of evidence from Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Australia over almost 18 months.

The Commissioner said he is foreshadowing this significant operational activity in the interests of public safety and awareness in the event that some of those charged seek to cause social disorder.

“It is fair to say that those likely to be charged are expecting police will be in contact, and they are warned that if they seek to cause public unrest, this will result in additional charges,” the Commissioner said.

“It is important that the public is aware that when these warrants are executed that there is the potential for disturbance so they must be prepared and act responsibly.

“I state very clearly that any illegal or unruly behaviour by supporter groups will be met with a swift and unwavering police response.

“Justice must take its course, and the individuals charged will have the opportunity to defend themselves in court as part of due process.”

Commissioner Manning said the laying of charges is the consequence of the investigation and analysis finalised under the Proceeds of Crime Task Force that was stood up by the RPNGC.

“The matters relating to the UBS loan in 2014 are complex and involve multiple sovereign jurisdictions, with investigations taking place following the handing down of the COI Final Report in March 2022.

“Charges that are about to be laid are not under the Commission of Inquiry Act, but are covered by the Criminal Code Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act.

“These offences that police will allege that the accused have committed are not faceless crimes, but extremely serious and deprived PNG citizens of substantial amounts of public money.

“The alleged offences amount to a massive breach of public trust and abuse of government office and appointment.

“The bottom line is that no one is above or beyond the reach of the law.  Police will fearlessly execute their constitutional duties in the service of our country.

“The police personnel working in the Proceeds of Crime Task Force include members of the Fraud Squad, forensic auditors and other specialist experts.

The ‘Royal Commission of Inquiry into processes and procedures followed by the Government of Papua New Guinea in obtaining the offshore loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland and related transactions’ was concluded with the handing down of the Final Report by the COI Chairman on 31 March 2022.

MSG 22 - 1969 'Midnight Cry' : PIF Resolution Looms! Again?

Prime Minister James Marape is in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital. Again. He pushes PNG's national interest.

The most recent MSG Leaders Summit 22 failed to resolve the West Papua issue. But, for now.
We chronicle the long road to freedom for West Papua.
The critical points:
1. MSG Leaders Summit 22 held in Port Vila, Vanuatu from 23 - 24 August 2023 resolved to give one year moratorium before a decision is made on full membership for West Papua.
2. If full membership is granted, the process of decolonization is seen to be stepped up by MSG. Indonesia is playing its card to stop the decision citing its claim to sovereignty over the former Dutch colony.
3. Any UN resolution on West Papua requires the PIF collectively to respond to human rights reports including demands for self determination by indigenous Papuans brought to its notice.
4. West Papua is already before the PIF for deliberation. In 2018, it called for a fact - finding mission. Indonesia did not respond.
5. United Liberation Movement For West Papua (ULMWP) application for membership is to push the hand of PIF to act on West Papua.
So, here is the latest story of West Papua at the time MSG 22 met in Port Vila.
Key Trends:
✓ Armed clashes between state forces and the TPNPB have risen since 2018. Clashes increased by nearly 80% in 2021 in comparison with 2020.4
✓ Since 2018, armed clashes have spread geographically outside of the traditional TPNPB stronghold in the Black Triangle regencies of Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya, and Mimika (IPAC, 13 July 2022), with notable increases in the regencies of Intan Jaya, Puncak, and Yahukimo. Since the beginning of 2021, armed clashes between state forces and the TPNPB have been reported in over 20 new locations across the region where they had not previously been recorded in the ACLED dataset, which begins in 2015 for Indonesia.
✓ Violence targeting Papuan civilians by state forces and violence targeting civilians by the TPNPB have continued at high levels over the past two years, with a notable increase in TPNPB civilian targeting since 2020.
✓ Indonesian state security forces have dispersed or repressed peaceful protests featuring Papuans and Papuan groups more frequently than those not featuring Papuans and Papuan groups.
MSG 22 resolution on West Papua has implications in light of the story of West Papua.
The ' low - level insurgency' seems more transformed in terms of science of armed combat aimed at the outcomes set.
For instance, TPNPB has moved from using rudimentary weapons to a growing supply of firearms, with police forces claiming that the TPNPB had purchased guns from dealers in Ambon, Papua New Guinea, and indirectly from the Philippines (Tribunnews, 23 May 2022).
On several occasions, members of state forces have been arrested for their involvement in gun trading with the TPNPB (Kompas, 24 February 2021). The increased supply of weapons has translated into more sustained battles as opposed to the hit-and-run incidents more often reported in the past (IPAC, 13 July 2022)

Read. Here:
(Photo caption: PM James Marape - he steps up on PNG/ Indonesia bilateral relations; in Jakarta, today for business deals signed with Indonesia; MSG 22 - West Papua issue left on the table for PIF to address; ULMWP leaders and diplomats - diplomatic option for roadmap to freedom for West Papua through decolonization still on track?; West Papua issue - it cannot be rushed, nor wished away)

Citing ‘God of Israel,’ Papua New Guinea becomes 5th nation to open Jerusalem embassy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his Papua New Guinean counterpart James Marape (C) open Papua New Guineas embassy in Jerusalem, September 5, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Papua New Guinea opened its embassy in Jerusalem on Tuesday at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Papua New Guinean counterpart James Marape.

“Today is a milestone moment for my country Papua New Guinea,” Marape said. “We are here to give respect to the people of Israel to the fullest.”

Marape was explicit in laying out the religious motivation for the move, which makes Papua New Guinea the fifth country to open its embassy in Israel’s capital.

Papua New Guinea opened its embassy in Jerusalem “because of our shared heritage, acknowledging the creator God, the Yahweh God of Israel, the Yahweh God of Isaac and Abraham,” said Marape.

“You have been the great custodian of the moral values that were passed for humanity,” Marape said to Netanyahu.

“Many nations choose not to open their embassies in Jerusalem but we made the conscious choice. This has been the universal capital of the nation and people of Israel. For us to call ourselves Christians, paying respect to God will not be complete without recognizing that Jerusalem is the universal capital of the people and nation of Israel.”

Over 95 percent of Papua New Guineans are Christians, with Catholics forming the largest denomination.

Marape also asked Israel to open an embassy in Port Moresby, and offered to provide the land for the mission. There are currently no plans to do so, the Foreign Ministry told The Times of Israel.

Israel’s relations with the island nation, which were established in 1978, are handled by its embassy in Australia.

For us to call ourselves Christians, paying respect to God will not be complete without recognizing that Jerusalem is the universal capital of the people and nation of Israel.

The embassy is located in the Jerusalem Technology Park at the southern end of the city, where Guatemala and Honduras also have their embassies.

Marape told local media before taking off for his trip that Israel would fund much of the costs of the office for the first two years, and he confirmed this at Tuesday’s ceremony. Israel’s Channel 12 news on Wednesday quoted the Foreign Ministry saying similar arrangements apply for the embassies in Jerusalem of Honduras and Kosovo.

Marape also said that Israel was helping Port Moresby find a permanent location for its embassy.

“This is where so much of our heritage emerged from,” Netanyahu responded at the ceremony. “This is where our values were forged. This is where our prophets prophesied.”

“I think it’s fitting that a state and a people so deeply committed to these values do what you just did,” he continued.

Netanyahu was joined by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who had landed back in Israel hours earlier following his trip to Bahrain, and by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.

Netanyahu held a meeting with Marape in his office before the ceremony.

Marape also toured Jerusalem’s Old City and Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Tuesday with his delegation, which includes a number of local pastors.

In February, the Foreign Ministry announced that Port Moresby would be making the move, after Foreign Minister Eli Cohen spoke with his Papua New Guinean counterpart, Justin Tkachenko.

Papua New Guinea’s embassy opening came on the heels of two similar announcements from other countries. In late August, Sierra Leone said that it would open an embassy in Jerusalem. Paraguay announced the week before that it would reopen its embassy in the Israeli capital as well.

Currently, the US, Guatemala, Honduras and Kosovo have embassies in Jerusalem.

Israel sees the moves as strengthening its claim to the city as its capital, though most foreign countries situate their embassies in or near Tel Aviv.

Hungary and Fiji are expected to announce embassy moves in the coming months as well.

Papua New Guinea is one of the Pacific nations that regularly vote with Israel at the United Nations, and Tkachenko told Cohen during their call that his country would continue to do so. In December, Papua New Guinea was one of the 25 countries that joined Israel in opposing the UN General Assembly resolution requesting that the International Court of Justice weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, in 2018 it voted to condemn the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while five other Pacific nations rejected the condemnation.

The island nation’s geopolitical importance is on the rise as China and the US jockey for influence in the country and neighboring states in the Pacific Ocean. US President Joe Biden canceled a much-anticipated trip there in May, sending US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his stead.

Source: Times of Israel

Kepulauan Solomon Klaim Negara Melanesia Desak Selidiki HAM di Papua

KTT Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) ke-22 dihadiri oleh
Presiden Prancis Emmanuel Macron. (AFP/LUDOVIC MARIN)

rds | CNN Indonesia

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia -- Kepulauan Solomon mengklaim KTT Negara Melanesia (Melanesian Spearhead Global/MSG) sepakat mendesak Indonesia agar mengizinkan Komisi HAM PBB mengunjungi Papua.

Honiara menuturkan para pemimpin negara MSG juga terus mendukung penanganan isu HAM di Papua dan mendesak Forum Kepulauan Pasifik "mengirim misi ke Provinsi Papua Barat dan Papua" dengan mempertimbangkan akar permasalahannya.

Desakan itu tertuang dalam dokumen 22nd MSG Leader' Summit Adopts Communique yang dirilis di situs pemerintah Kepulauan Solomon yang merupakan salah satu anggota forum ini.

"Ketua MSG (Vanuatu) telah diminta untuk menulis surat kepada Indonesia untuk mengizinkan kunjungan Komisaris Hak Asasi Manusia PBB ke Papua Barat," demikian bunyi kutipan dokumen itu.

Pernyataan tersebut berlanjut "[para pemimpin] meminta Komisi Hak Asasi Manusia PBB agar laporan mereka mengenai pelanggaran HAM di Papua Barat disampaikan pada waktu yang tepat untuk dipertimbangkan selanjutnya di KTT MSG pada 2024."

KTT MSG menjadi sorotan usai delegasi Indonesia walk out atau keluar dari forum saat pemimpin Papua Barat dan Ketua ULMWP, Benny Wenda, akan menyampaikan pidato.

Pertemuan puncak itu berlangsung pada 23-24 Agustus di Port Vila, Vanuatu. Salah satu topik yang dibahas yakni keanggotaan ULMWP di MSG.

Juru bicara Kementerian Luar Negeri (Kemlu) RI, Teuku Faizasyah, mengonfirmasi delegasi RI keluar dari forum tersebut.

"Ya, semuanya delegasi RI walk out," kata Faizasyah kepada, pekan lalu.

Ia lantas menerangkan alasan delegasi Indonesia WO dari KTT MSG saat Benny hendak menyampaikan pernyataan.

"Indonesia tak bisa menerima seseorang yang seharusnya bertanggung jawab atas aksi-aksi kekerasan bersenjata di Papua termasuk penculikan, diberi kesempatan berbicara di forum yang terhormat," ungkap dia.

"Dalam Komunike Bersama (Joint Communique) yang dikeluarkan pada 24 Agustus, para pemimpin anggota MSG menegaskan bahwa ULMWP tidak memenuhi kriteria keanggotaan MSG," demikian menurut mereka.

Kemlu lalu menegaskan bahwa keanggotaan MSG hanya untuk negara yang berdaulat.

Isi joint communique 

Berdasarkan dokumen joint communique KTT MSG yang didapat berjudul '22nd MSG Leaders Summit: MSG, Being Relevant and Influental', ada 22 poin hasil pertemuan yang disepakati seluruh anggota.

Dalam salah satu poin, poin ke-9 tepatnya, negara MSG menyinggung secara spesifik isu HAM di Papua atau yang mereka sebut sebagai Provinsi Papua Barat.

Di poin tersebut, negara MSG mengakui bahwa Dewan HAM PBB menjadi forum yang paling tepat untuk membahas isu HAM di Papua. Negara-negara Melanesia ini juga menegaskan pengakuan mereka atas kedaulatan Indonesia terhadap Papua.

Meski begitu, dalam dokumen itu negara MSG tetap mendesak Forum Negara Kepulauan Pasifik (Pacific Island Forum/PIF) untuk mengimplementasikan communique pada KTT 2019 lalu yang mendorong Komisi Tinggi HAM PBB mengirimkan misinya menyelidiki Papua.

"(MSG) juga telah meminta pemimpin MSG (tahun ini, Vanuatu) untuk menulis surat kepada Associated Member (anggota sekutu) untuk mengizinkan kunjungan Komisioner HAM PBB ke Papua dan meminta komisi tersebut merilis laporan soal pelanggaran HAM di Papua Barat, yang dipaparkan di waktu yang tepat untuk menjadi bahan pertimbangan KTT MSG selanjutnya pada 2024," bunyi kutipan communique tersebut.

Indonesia menjadi satu-satunya Associated Member di MSG. Status itu diberikan MSG kepada Indonesia pada 2015 menyusul pengaruh dan kerja sama Indonesia dengan negara-negara Melanesia yang terus meluas.

"(MSG) mengarahkan juga Sekretariat untuk mengembangkan pengaturan dialog melalui Pemerintah Indonesia, selama SOM formal, di mana semua pemangku kepentingan terkait dapat diundang untuk membahas isu-isu yang berkaitan dengan pembangunan di Provinsi Papua."


Baca artikel CNN Indonesia "Kepulauan Solomon Klaim Negara Melanesia Desak Selidiki HAM di Papua" selengkapnya di sini:

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๐—ฃ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐—ฎ ๐—ก๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—š๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฎ ๐—ง๐—ผ ๐—ข๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—˜๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐˜† ๐—œ๐—ป ๐—œ๐˜€๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฒ๐—น

๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฌ๐˜๐—ต ๐—”๐˜‚๐—ด๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜ ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ

PAPUA New Guinea will next week open an embassy in Jerusalem when Prime Minister James Marape visits Israel.

PM Marape, also the foreign affairs minister, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But his office confirmed that the embassy is expected to be opened on Sept 5, 2023.

The Prime Minister Marape’s visit is from Sept 4 to Sept 6, 2023.

According to the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he is scheduled to meet with Marape on Sept 5, 2023.

PNG does not have an embassy in Israel but maintains a consulate near Tel Aviv. But most diplomatic correspondence are handled by the PNG high commission in Australia.

The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1978.

In February this year, then Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko announced that Papua New Guinea would set up its embassy in Jerusalem after talking to his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen

Wale slams PM’s hypocritical stand on West Papua

LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has expressed disappointment with the Prime Minister’s stand on the West Papua issue labelling it as ‘hypocritical’.

Hon Wale said the current Prime Minister used to be a strong supporter and advocator for West Papua in the past but he has taken a 180-degree on the issue.

“I am actually not surprised that the Prime Minister has changed face on the West Papua issue. It is a shame and hypocritical of him because he was a very strong supporter in the past,” Hon Wale said.

The Opposition Leader has reaffirmed his view that West Papuans themselves should be afforded the opportunity to express their vote on self-determination under an internationally supervised referendum.

Based on the membership criteria set by MSG, Hon Wale has also questioned how Caledonia’s FLNKS are measured against those?

“It is hypocrisy to stand with New Caledonia for independence from France and then support Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua. Why the double standard?” he questioned.

Hon Wale said MSG Leaders need to rethink their stand and the Prime Minister should have maintained Solomon Islands stand on West Papua.

The Opposition Leader said both the FLNKS and West Papuans are Melanesian peoples and both desire independence.

He said West Papua has been under very oppressive schematic & systematic Indonesian colonial rule, far worse than anything New Caledonia has suffered and MSG Leaders know better.

– Opposition Press