Regional warning

BALI – INDONESIA’S Defence Minister has urged Australia to rebuke Pacific Island states who raise issues relating to West Papua in global fora.

Ryamizard Ryacudu met Australian Ges including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in a meeting in Bali where the two countries reaffirmed security ties.

He pressed Australia to pass a message to Solomon Islands that it should refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Indonesia, including the issue of West Papua.

Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, in his role as chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, has been vocal about boosting West Papuan representation in the group.

He was also one of seven leaders of Pacific states who spoke out about rights abuses in Papua and on support for Papuan self-determination at last month’s UN General Assembly session. Mr Ryamizard told media he had implored Canberra to speak to Honiara on the matter because Australia contributes a big aid package in the Solomons.

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