VANUATU CALLS FOR MORE TALKS ON SECURITY FORCE

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, July 30) – Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Ham Lini said a proposal for a Melanesian Spearhead Group joint security force needs more discussion before it gains his country’s support.

Leaders of the MSG, which groups Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, discussed the concept last year and again in Solomons Islands recently.

The MSG chairman, Gabriel Pepson, said officials from the organisation will meet next month to talk about the logistics of setting up such a force.

However, Mr Lini said while the idea has merit, the proposal needs to be looked into more.

He said such a force would be an expensive operation for MSG countries to run.

"We have already endorsed this as the government leaders but it’s something that must come up with the technical people putting this together," said Lini. "It’s something that we have to look more into it because we’ve got financial problems in other areas and for this to be taken up, it’s something we’d have to commit ourselves to financially to set up this force."

July 31, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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