1 Sep 2010

Fiji temporarily suspends itself from the Melanesian Spearhead Group

1:41 pm on 1 September 2010

Fiji has temporarily suspended itself from all the Melanesian Spearhead Group formal meetings.

The interim Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, says Fiji will temporarily stand aside from participating in the MSG formal meetings.

The Fiji Sun reports the Minister saying this will allow the MSG leaders the necessary breathing space and autonomy to resolve the outstanding issue of the chairmanship of the body.

That matter had prompted the late cancellation of a summit of the MSG leaders which was to have been held in Natadola in July.

At that meeting Fiji was to assume chairmanship of the body but the current chair, Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, said that would have been a threat to the organisation's values.

He said the fundamental principles and values of democracy and good governance that the MSG is built on must continue to be upheld.

Ratu Inoke says there's a tacit understanding that this issue will need to be resolved through the Melanesian tradition of mutual compromise and respect for each other's sovereignty, before business as usual can resume.