PM Pledges Full Support

Fiji has pledged its support for Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) solidarity. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said, “with national unity, a sense of purpose, good governance and equality, opportunity and substantive
28 Jun 2015 10:14
PM Pledges Full Support

Fiji has pledged its support for Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) solidarity.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said, “with national unity, a sense of purpose, good governance and equality, opportunity and substantive justice for all, nothing was impossible even for small island nations”.

This was his message at the conclusion of MSG Leaders Summit at the Heritage Park Hotel, Honiara, in the Solomon Islands last Friday.

He congratulated the Solomon Islands government for assuming the chairmanship of the MSG and its role in chairing the Leader’s Summit.

“I am confident that under your leadership over the next two years, we will be able to effectively achieve our collective goals for the benefit of all our peoples.”

He assured them the Fijian Government’s co-operation and support.

“Our final communiqué is a testament to the way in which we have all worked in a positive manner this week to advance the cause of our organisation and the position of all Melanesians,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“We have faced some difficult challenges in reaching a consensus on some of these issues, but I want to commend you all on behalf of the Fijian people for approaching these challenges in an atmosphere of co-operation and goodwill.”

Mr Bainimarama, together with other MSG leaders, pledged to redouble efforts in areas on concern to everyone – trade, the free movement of people across borders and collective response to the challenges of terrorism to name a few.


West Papua

Mr Bainimarama said, “we have elevated the sovereign power in West Papua – Indonesia – to Associate Member of the MSG.”

“We have also opened the door for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to join us as an observer,” he said.

“In doing so, Fiji believes we are acting in the best interests of the people in West Papua, as well as maintaining the integrity of the principles on which the MSG was founded and that we must always uphold.”

He said Fiji had been guided by a number of overriding principles in approaching the West Papua issue.

“We are convinced that the best hope for improving the lives of the people of West Papua – is to work closely with the Indonesian Government, to provide encouragement and support in an atmosphere of co-operation and friendship and to encourage it in its current programme to govern West Papua in an inclusive and enlightened manner,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“We cannot erase the history of West Papua and some of the negative aspects of that history, which we acknowledge include significant human rights violations.”

He commended the Indonesian President and his Government for the steps taken to improve conditions in West Papua for its Melanesian population.

He said from Fiji’s perspective, the best way to achieve this was to bring Indonesia closer into the workings of the MSG.

“Which is why we have supported elevating Indonesia from observer status to Associate Member and by strengthening our engagement as an organisation with Indonesia, we are also strengthening our joint co-operation on issues relating to West Papua,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Fiji is convinced that this is not only the best way to improve the situation for our Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua. It is the only way.”

He acknowledged the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, which represents a significant body of opinion in the West Papuan Diaspora and also has the welfare of the West Papuan people at heart.

The ULMWP has now been granted observer status at the MSG. The ULMWP is not the sovereign power in West Papua.

It is an external, non-government organisation that may represent West Papuan interests and opinion.

“But the MSG simply could not give it the status it desired without compromising a fundamental principal.

“That non-government organisation cannot have the same status as governments in our organisation,” Mr Bainimarama said

He appealed to the ULMWP not to regard this as a defeat, but an opportunity.

“You have now been brought into the fold. Use this privilege to also work with us for the betterment of every West Papuan. Working together – Indonesia, the MSG countries and the West Papuan Diaspora – we can achieve much better outcomes for the West Papuan people,” Mr Bainimarama said.


Issue on Climate change

“Every Pacific country is affected in one way or another and in the case of three nations – Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands – their very existence is threatened by the rising seas,” he said.

“We have our opportunity later this year to get the industrialised nations to finally sign up to the dramatic cuts in carbon emissions that the scientists say are needed to avert catastrophe.

“And it is an opportunity that we must all take.”

He said Fiji intends to work with its Pacific neighbours to lead the charge at the World Climate Summit in Paris at the end of November.


Trade Talks

He said the measures to promote business activity and co-operation between the private sectors within the MSG countries is an important part of the final communiqué.

He said the meeting of MSG Finance Ministers that concluded in Nadi, Fiji, was a great success.

“I urge you all as leaders to encourage this growing engagement between our various governments at an economic and financial level for the benefit of all our peoples,” Mr Bainimarama said.



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