26 May 2005

Melanesian Spearhead Group yet to formally address Indonesia membership issue

4:10 pm on 26 May 2005

The Head of the Melanesian Spearhead Group's Interim Secretariat says there has been no formal move for Indonesia to join the group, despite comments by Jakarta's ambassador to Vanuatu.

Johnny Koanapo says the idea has not reached the MSG agenda yet but would have to go before the group's senior official segment before it is endorsed.

On his visit to Vanuatu last week, ambassador Imron Cotan suggested that with more Melanesians in Indonesia than in the rest of Melanesian countries combined, his country should be included in the MSG.

Mr Koanapo says the ambassador's comments appear to be the first indication of Indonesia's expression of interest.

"It may be that some countries want to specifically insert that as an agenda item to be discussed at the senior official's level but at this stage we are not aware because the trip was only last week. It may be that countries like Vanuatu or maybe Papua New Guinea or others, I don't know, want to raise it as an agenda item to be discussed. If they raise it then it can be discussed."

The Head of the Melanesian Spearhead Group's Interim Secretariat, Johnny Koanapo.