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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Former PM Demands Vanuatu Refuse Indonesia ‘Gift’
Ambassador gifted police uniforms during credential presentation

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 26, 2013) – Vanuatu opposition MP and former prime minister Barack Sope has demanded the country's government refuse to accept a gift of police uniforms from Indonesia's government.

The gift was made by Indonesia's new ambassador to Vanuatu, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, as he presented his credentials to President Iolu Johnson Abil.

Vanuatu has long been a refuge for many from the Indonesian Province of West Papua.

Mr. Sope told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat the gift is an effort by Indonesia to exert influence and change the Ni-Van position on the Province.

"A lot of blood has been shed in West Papua and it's the military of Indonesia that does it," he said.

"How can Indonesia help Melanesians in Vanuatu and other places when they're also killing them - killing Melanesians in West Papua. We cannot accept that.

"They have to sort out the human rights situation, they have to sort out the colonial situation in West Papua, which they haven't, they refuse to.

"What we're doing in Vanuatu is hypocritical. We say one thing and we do others."

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