MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP PLANS SECURITY FORCE

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 23)—Countries belonging to the Melanesian Spearhead Group are planning to set up their own security force.

Following a meeting of senior officials in the Solomons, the MSG Chairperson, Gabriel Pepson, said such a force could respond to unforeseen political situations in the MSG such as the civil unrest that broke out in Honiara earlier this year.

He said the force could also be used during times of natural disasters such tsunamis, cyclones, earth quakes and volcanic eruptions.

Mr. Pepson said because the members of the force would be indigenous to the sub region, they would be able to relate well to MSG citizens.

The establishment of the Regional Security Force will be put before the MSG Leaders Summit to be held in Vanuatu next year.

The MSG is made up of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

July 24, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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