11 Apr 2016

MSG discord over Director-General selection

2:32 pm on 11 April 2016
The Melanesian Spearhead Group headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana

There are signs of discord within the Melanesian Spearhead Group over the selection of its new director-general.

Last week, Fiji's foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said his country's Ambassador for Climate Change and Oceans, Amena Yauvoli, had been selected for the role.

It's over four months since the former MSG director-general Peter Forau resigned. The Solomon Islander cited a lack of budgetary support and declining commitment from member states to the group's programme.

MSG leaders are due to meet for a special meeting next month in Port Vila, where a new director-general was expected to be formally appointed. Ratu Inoke's announcement came as news to other MSG members.

As far as Vanuatu is concerned, the selection has not been finalised. Its National Council of Ministers met last week and decided to nominate Vanuatu's ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey-Joy as the new MSG head.

Earlier, Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato confirmed his government had put forward its own candidate, a senior PNG diplomat, but had since decided to withdraw the name.

The office of the MSG chairman, Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare said formalities for the director-general's appointment would be concluded today.

Fiji's government has been unavailable for comment on the matter.

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