NEWS

MSG Leaders Delay Start For O’Neill Arrival

The leaders of Melanesia began meeting at Honiara’s luxurious Heritage Park Hotel yesterday. Yesterday’s retreat was delayed to allow for the arrival from Vanuatu of Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister
26 Jun 2015 10:06
MSG Leaders Delay Start For O’Neill Arrival
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and other MSG leaders challenged by local warriors on arrival for the opening of the MSG summit in Honiara on Wednesday. Photo: Charles Kadamana, The Solomon Star

The leaders of Melanesia began meeting at Honiara’s luxurious Heritage Park Hotel yesterday.

Yesterday’s retreat was delayed to allow for the arrival from Vanuatu of Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. He had flown to Port Vila, on Wednesday, as chief guest of his national airline Air Niugini’s inaugural Port Moresby to Port Vila flight.

At the retreat, Mr O’Neill sat directly opposite Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.

Flanking him was leader of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) from New Caledonia, Victor Tutugoro. Facing Mr Tutugoro was Vanuatu’s special envoy to the MSG Leaders’ Summit, Johnson Naviti.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare took over as chairman, at the top-end of the room.

The MSG leaders had a full meeting agenda including the Melanesian free trade agreement, fisheries and regional policing. Other important agenda items were disaster relief after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu earlier this year and the “MSG 2038 Prosperity for All” regional plan.

The leaders also considered Indonesia’s application to upgrade to associate membership, supported by PNG and Fiji, in the form of five Papuan provincial governors who said they were their Melanesian population’s true representatives.

Today, the leaders will issue a communique on the outcome for West Papua, Indonesia and other issues.

Prime Minister Bainimarama had stated earlier that Fiji would support Indonesia and all matters related to West Papua should be refrered to Indonesia.

Earlier in the week, the MSG Foreign Ministers’ Meeting had discussed the report of the MSG Trade Ministers.

With input from PACNEWS

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