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Fiji Time: 6:43 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Fiji defends Indonesian trip

Nanise Loanakadavu
Monday, February 10, 2014

FIJI used the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) fact-finding mission to Indonesia as an opportunity to address bilateral issues.

Ambassador for the 2014 Trade Pasifika Kaliopate Tavola said while the aim of mission was for the MSG to look at the situation on West Papua, it was also an opportunity for Fiji to seek bilateral agreements.

The visit was mandated by the MSG leaders to assess the application of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) to become a member of the MSG.

Coalition head Andy Ayamiseba had said the fact-finding mission fell short of its mandate.

"To me and the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), the so-called Melanesian Spearhead Group ministerial delegation visit to Indonesia and West Papua was a conflict of interest for Fiji and the Solomon Islands," Mr Ayamiseba told Vanuatu Daily Post.

Although Mr Tavola did not have details of the bilateral agreement, he said any bilateral assistance to Fiji would be useful, especially coming from Indonesia, a country that had a lot of potential.

"Fiji was the leader of the delegation that went across and apart from the MSG mandate. The gain for Fiji is obviously the gain through the bilateral agreement that were carried out, as well as what will emanate from the West Papua situation," he said.