12 Jul 2010

Fiji claims it's still got backing of PNG and Solomons for MSG summit

8:37 pm on 12 July 2010

The Fiji interim Government claims only Vanuatu has issues with its leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama assuming the chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

That was due to happen next week at a summit of the Melanesian nations in Nadi, but the current chair Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, has deferred that meeting until further notice.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Mr Natapei says it's a collective decision by Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the FLNKS in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, saying the ramifications of Fiji chairing the MSG at this time cannot be ignored. Mr Natapei says he's invited Commodore Bainimarama to a special leaders' meeting in Vanuatu to resolve the matter. He says there are basic fundamental principles and values of democracy and good governance that the MSG is built on and it must continue to uphold. Mr Natapei says the MSG has a more critical role to play in assisting Fiji to restore Parliamentary democracy through increased dialogue and interaction. In a statement the Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Mr Natapei hadn't exhausted the political options to try and resolve the so called impasse over the chairmanship. And it says it has the backing of Solomon Islands and PNG to host the summit."