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Marape: PNG no right to comment on abuses in West Papua

Prime Minister James Marape met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on the sidelines of the ASEAN Leaders Summit on Thursday, 7 September 2023.

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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has told Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo that PNG has no right to criticise Jakarta over what he calls alleged human rights abuses in West Papua.

The two leaders spoke on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Jakarta, reaffirming commitments to maintain dialogue to build stronger and trustful relations that had been made when they met in Port Moresby in July.

Marape told Widodo he abstained from supporting the West Papuan bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group at last month’s meeting in Port Vila because the West Papuan United Liberation Movement (ULMWP) “does not meet the requirements of a fully-fledged sovereign nation”.

“Indonesia’s associate membership status also as a Melanesian country to the MSG suffices, which cancels out West Papua ULM’s bid,” Marape said referring to the ULMWP.

He said on the allegations of human rights issues in West Papua, that since PNG has its own challenges, it has no moral grounds to comment on human rights issues outside of its own jurisdiction.

The Indonesian president said the PNG deputy prime minister John Rosso will be invited to assess developments taking place in West Papua.

Widodo said Indonesia’s committed to building trustful and cooperative relations with all Pacific countries and will extend an invitation to their leaders to attend the Archipelagic Island States (AIS) Forum next month in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, on the planned electrification project in PNG’s western provinces, the two leaders pledged to ensure this project goes smoothly and is completed on time.

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