Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MSG secretariat supports Natapei

Fiji Live News - July 14, 2010

The Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat has issued a statement in support of current MSG chair, Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei’s decision to call off next week’s summit in Nadi.

Radio New Zealand International reports that the MSG secretariat in Port Vila said Natapei has been fully backed by leaders of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

The statement said he would retain the MSG chair in the meantime.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has this week strongly criticised Natapei for calling off the MSG summit, saying he had been influenced by Australia.

Natapei had said earlier that allowing the chair to pass to Fiji in the next order of rotation would undermine the MSG’s commitment to democracy and good governance.

Fiji had said Natapei had options for resolving his concerns over the chairmanship without having to cancel the summit, in the lead up to next month’s Pacific Island Forum leaders’ meeting.

Australia’s acting ambassador to Fiji, Sarah Roberts has been expelled from Suva over her role in Australia “making presentations” to island governments against holding the MSG meeting in Fiji, Australia’s Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has admitted.

The Fiji government is going ahead with an alternative ‘Friends of Fiji’ meeting planned for next week, with other island leaders.

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