21 Jun 2013

MSG leaders approve more co-operation on several fronts

7:07 pm on 21 June 2013

The Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders summit has concluded with a range of initiatives being approved for greater regional co-operation between member states in the areas such as security, governance and trade.

The leaders approved the draft revised MSG Trade Agreement as the basis for negotiations of a new legal framework for broader and deeper trade relations amongst members.

They also acknowledged a presentation by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo on the concept of a MSG parliament and have tasked the Secretariat with scoping the idea's applicability.

Meanwhile, the revised Humanitarian and Emergency Response Co-ordination Centre concept has been endorsed and preparations for allocating resources in each member state towards this planned centre are already underway.

Furthermore, in the areas of security and policing, the MSG leaders have endorsed the concept of creating a Department of Peace-Keeping Operations, and have approved an agreement on greater police co-operation.

Leaders have noted that the MSG has the potential to provide police and security in Solomon Islands after the withdrawal of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

The MSG has also appointed Fiji's Kaliopate Tavola as the first in a newly created role, the MSG High Level Representative to work as a type of roving ambassador, engaging with other regions of the world, governments and international agencies to promote MSG interests and secure new development partnerships.