25 May 2016

MSG special leaders summit deferred again

12:33 pm on 25 May 2016
The Melanesian Spearhead Group headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

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

The Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit scheduled to take place in the next two weeks in Port Moresby has been postponed again.

The special summit is being called by the current MSG chair, the Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Its purpose is to discuss the appointment of a new director general for the sub-regional group and to consider full membership for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

It was originally to have taken place in Port Vila at the beginning of the month but was deferred because of a brief period of political instability in Solomon Islands.

It may now be held at the end of June.

The latest postponement is reportedly a clash in the timing of the event with Papua New Guinea's hosting of the 8th African, Carribean and Pacific Leaders summit which starts next week.

Both issues to be considered at the summit have been the subject of some controversy.

First the premature announcement of Fiji diplomat Amena Yauvoli as the new Director General of the MSG was rejected by PNG and Vanuatu.

And more recently a war of words that has erupted between Indonesia and the Solomon Islands over the MSG chair's allegations that Jakarta's interest in the MSG were self-serving.

The latter was prompted by Jakarta's rejection of an invitation to open dialogue with the MSG on concerns about human rights abuses in Papua.