FIJI REGIME SIGNS SPEARHEAD PACT

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Daily Post, Mar 25) –The Interim Government was only allowed to sign the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) agreement after last-minute changes to the preamble of the agreement.

MSG Secretariat official, Johnny Koanapo told PACNEWS the initial concern raised by the MSG was based on the preamble of the MSG Agreement.

"We made changes to the preamble allowing Fiji to put its signature on the agreement. It was basically changing ‘government’ to 'state' in the preamble." Mr Koanapo said.

A senior MSG government official told PACNEWS that the concerns of MSG countries were based on the status of the interim administration in Fiji.

"It’s safe to describe all the MSG governments as states, looking into the future, if any of these governments will also undergo Fiji’s situation, the official told PACNEWS.

It’s understood that Solomon Islands raised its concern that Fiji's signature would have implications for the group.

"They implied that if Fiji signed, it would affect the MSG’s attempt to jointly get donor assistance. The worry also was that MSG could be seen as accepting the military take over in Fiji," the official said.

Changes to the preamble were endorsed by all MSG countries before Fiji was allowed to sign the MSG agreement on Friday afternoon.

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