The Parliamentary Opposition Group has urged the Prime Minister and his Government to reassess its approach on the issue of West Papua with Indonesia.

In a statement today, the Opposition Group says the stern warning by the Indonesian Foreign Minister conveyed to his Australian counterpart must not be taken lightly by the Government.

“We all have concerns for human right issues in West Papua. But there are other means of dealing with this issue rather than the confrontational approach taken by the current Prime Minister. This is not only interfering with Indonesia’s sovereignty but also with that country’s domestic affairs,” it said.

The Opposition Group recommended that the Prime Minister embrace the relationship established by the previous government and work through the Solomon Islands Ambassador in Jakarta.

“The continuous disrespect to Indonesia as demonstrated by the Prime Minister will not help the course of West Papua at the international level, not to mention the damage this will cause to Solomon Islands relationship with Indonesia,” it said.

The Opposition Group says the Prime Minister has been ill-advised on this important issue, which will not only worsen the cause for West Papua but also hurt Solomon Islands.

“Indonesia is an important partner for our country in trade, energy, fisheries, development, training and cultural exchange. It is an influential member of some of the multilateral agencies and in the Asian region, which Solomon Islands very much rely on,” it said.

Therefore, the Opposition Group says the Prime Minister would be well advised to engage with Indonesia on the West Papua issue rather than the current confrontational approach he has taken.

Press Release: Office of the Leader of Opposition