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Special Melanesian Spearhead Group Meeting Outcome

Outcome of the Special Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Meeting

23rd October, 2006

Leaders from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu met at the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa in Nadi, Fiji on Sunday, 22 October 2006 to discuss a number of political, security, trade, economic, social and cultural issues including developments in the region.

The meeting was chaired by the Rt. Hon. Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade of Papua New Guinea.

During the meeting, leaders received updates regarding the MSG organizational structure and advertisement of the legal and economic planning officers for the Secretariat and the finalization of the Agreement establishing the MSG.

The leaders were also briefed on the MSG Foreign Ministers Mission to Solomon Islands from 9-11 May 2006. The Mission was led by the Rt. Hon Sir Rabbie L Namaliu, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea and included the Hon. Sato Kilman Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Vanuatu and Mr Isikeli Mataitoga, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of the Republic of Fiji Islands.

The Mission was an MSG initiative in response to the civil disturbances in Honiara on 18th, 19th and 20th April 2006.

Further briefings were also provided by the MSG Foreign Ministers on the outcome of their Special Meeting which was held in Nadi, Fiji, 20 October 2006, just prior to the Leaders meeting.

The leaders noted that their Foreign Ministers had deliberated on political and security issues affecting the MSG, trade and economic issues, secretariat issues including staff matters, the budget and the MSG Agreement, social and cultural issues, particularly on the Outcome of the 3rd Melanesian Arts Festival, regional issues on the Forum Secretariat Secretary General post. They were also briefed on the recent raid by the Participating Police Force (PPF) serving under RAMSI, on the premises of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s Office on Friday, 20 October 2006.

In a separate statement issued by the leaders, they expressed serious concern over the incident.

On a related issue, MSG leaders received a report on the Mission undertaken on 25-27 September 2006 to Honiara and to Canberra on 6 October 2006 by MSG Senior Officials, to mediate between Solomon Islands and Australia over the diplomatic standoff.

The Interim Secretariat informed the leaders a Sub-Committee on Budget and Administration, to be chaired by PNG, has been mandated to look into the budget and administration issues of the Secretariat. This Committee will finalise the budget, interview the short-listed candidates for the MSG Legal Officer and the Economic Planning Officer posts and the advertisement of the post of Director General.

Leaders agreed that the signing of the constitution would be deferred, pending the consideration of the proposal from Fiji. This new amendment by Fiji will be included in the current draft legal text after endorsement by members.

On regional issues, the leaders noted that the post of the Forum Secretary General is due to expire soon.

The leaders were also briefed by the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands on the Country Initiative Paper on RAMSI to be presented to the Forum leaders meeting.

Finally, the leaders acknowledged the successful hosting of the 3rd Melanesian Arts Festival by Fiji in Suva from 2-11 October 2006.

They also expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government of Fiji for hosting the Special MSG Leaders Summit and related meetings from 20-22 October 2006.

……………………………………………………….

Hon. Laisenia QARASE
Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Islands

…………………………………………………………

The Grand Chief Rt. Hon. Sir Michael SOMARE
Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

……………………………………………………….

Hon. Manasseh SOGAVARE
Prime Minister of Solomon Islands

……………………………………………………….

Hon. Ham Lini VANUAROROA
Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu

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