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‘SI’s UNGA position on West Papua is a pity’: Governor Juffa

Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, Gary Juffa.

“You can recognize the sovereignty of a nation but you can also point out something that isn’t right”, says Gary Juffa, Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province.

He described Solomon Islands’ recent position regarding West Papua’s push for self determination as “a pity and usual position” for nations to take.

Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela told the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York last month that Solomon Islands respects Indonesia’s sovereignty over its territorial borders including West Papua – a message contradictory to his predecessor and current Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s speech last year.

Director of the Center for Pacific Studies at the University of Hawai’i, Associate Professor Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka said national views at the international arena must be consistent or the country loses its credibility.

But for Governor Juffa, such position is a pity.

“It’s a pity but it’s also not unusual, nations will take such a stance, they will respect a nation’s sovereignty and if you got an organisation such as the UN that managed this effort whereby the people of West Papua were handed over to Indonesia in 1969 under what they call the Act of Free Choice which was really an act of no choice.

“When that happens then most nations will use that as their standing point, you know, and say this is where we come in and recognize that this has happened”.

He urged the Pacific and Solomon Islands to be vigilant against Indonesia’s growing political influence in the region.

“The people of the Pacific citizens have to be watchful you know, because a nation should not interfere in the politics of another nation.

“They accuse other nations of doing that with their politics but they do it too and they’re moving around with large bags of money and aid and education programmes and taking citizens across there to show them how great things are.

“I’m curious you’ve got your elections coming up, they might have a hand in that, it’s something that the people of the Solomon Islands need to be watchful for”.

By: Rickson Bau

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