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Handover on hold in ongoing flap

By Repeka Nasiko SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Nov. 4, 2010) – Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has revealed that the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) chairmanship was to have been given directly to Fiji by Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei.

[PIR editor’s note: Melanesian Spearhead Group is an intergovernmental organization comprised of Melanesian Countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Kanaks of New Caledonia). It was founded in 1983 and became formalized in 2007. It’s headquarter is located in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Edward Natapei is Vanuatu’s current Prime minister. He was previously the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1991 and acting President of Vanuatu in 1999. He was a speaker of Parliament and also the President of the Vanua'aku Pati, a political party in Vanuatu.]

Bainimarama told FijiLive, this should have been the initial plan instead of the handover taking place in Honiara earlier last month.

"Last I heard, about the MSG, the Vanuatu Prime Minister wanted the chairmanship handed straight to Fiji instead of it going to the Solomon Islands and then to us." Commodore Bainimarama told said.

He also said that he hasn’t received any other updates on the MSG since the postponement of the Special Leaders meeting in Honiara last month

Solomon Islands Prime Minster, Danny Philips in postponing the handover indefinitely said he would be engaging with the Fijian leader.

Last month’s cancellation was the second for this year.

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