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Opposition: Silence the guns and amplify the voices

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“Silence the guns and amplify the voices” is the latest call by the former Prime Minister (PM) and current Leader of Opposition, Bob Loughman, when he accepted a t-shirt from Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of West Papua Provisional Government, Morris Kaloran, in a recent kava ceremony at Loughman’s residence in Freshwota.

Similar t-shirts were worn by West Papua supporters in the gigantic parade which snaked up the hill to Saralana Festival Site on Wednesday.

Loughman described the t-shirt as vital “to help elevate the campaign saying it is about time, that the timing is right not only to pressure Jakarta to grant West Papua its freedom but to also pressure Paris to grant Kanaky its freedom”.

The t-shirt is donated by a Solomon Islands Promoter for West Papua Freedom who is Korean, who personally handed it over to Vanuatu Free West Papua Association President, Job Dalesa who in turn, handed over two to Mr. Loughman and the President of SHEFA Provincial Government Council (SPGC).

“This important for the good of everyone. We make this demand not to agitate anyone but to resolve the long overdue demands peacefully,” he said.

Thousands of Melanesian West Papuans have been killed by Indonesian soldiers since the 1960s, while Kanaks have also been killed by French commandoes for agitating for their freedom from colonialism.

While the 7th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival (MACFEST) was launched by Prime Minister (PM) Mr. Ishmael Kalsakau at Saralana following a huge parade, the largest number of flags were the Morning Star of West Papua, representing the adoption of West Papua by SHEFA Province.

Asked how he would handle the ULMWP Application if he were PM, Loughman replied, “The Governments and people of Vanuatu have always been staunch supporters for West Papua freedom.

“At this time whilst hosting both the Melanesian Arts Festival and celebrating our 43rd Independence Anniversary, while we pride ourselves of maintaining ‘the Melanesian Way’ in how we resolve our Melanesian issues, we should accept West Papua to become a full member of MSG then together as a Melanesian Group, look at how best to invite them (West Papua) to become a member of the Pacific Forum.

“If we do not play our card right then it would be difficult to convince Jakarta.

“By the grace of God, it is important for all of us to accept that together we are strong”.

West Papua is adopted by SHEFA Province, which explains why the Morning Star flag is flown next to the SHEFA flag at the SPGC Provincial Headquarters.

Daily Post Vanuatu

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