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Jakarta Post

National scene: Luhut tells ULMWP to leave the country

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, February 20, 2016   /  08:52 am

JAKARTA: Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has told the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), which campaigns for Papuan independence, to leave the country, as it could pose a threat to the country'€™s territorial integrity.

'€œThey'€™d be better to join the MSG. Don'€™t stay in Indonesia anymore,'€ Luhut said, referring to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a sub-regional grouping in the Pacific, comprising Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.

The ULMWP was formed last year when Vanuatu hosted a unification summit for West Papuan representative groups.

Representing the various Papuan resistance groups, the ULMWP officially applied for full membership of the MSG in February 2015.

Many have speculated that the Indonesian government is trying to undermine the influence of the MSG on the Papua issue by applying to become the group'€™s newest member.

Foreign Ministry officials have made a round of diplomatic trips in the region in recent months as MSG member governments have struggled to balance their growing ties with Jakarta while providing support to regional grassroots movements dedicated to securing rights for the indigenous people of West Papua, where a separatist conflict has been simmering for decades.

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