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FIJI’S BAINIMARAMA HAILS MELANESIAN ‘NEW BEGINNING’ Timor Leste, Indonesia, Luxembourg to attend Spearhead gathering

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, March 16, 2011) - The participation of three new countries at this year's Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting (MSG) in Fiji signals a new beginning [, says Fiji military commander Frank Bainimarama].

MSG chairman, Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama welcomed the interest shown by Timor Leste, Indonesia and the Luxembourg government to be part of the MSG meeting scheduled for 31 March. Indonesia and Timor Leste will be participating as observers while a representative from Luxembourg will attend as a special guest at the leaders’ meeting. "The granting of observership to Timor Leste and Indonesia is a historic moment in the young life of the MSG and we welcome our neighbors to the MSG family, in their capacity as observers," Commodore Bainimarama said.

Speaking from Vanuatu yesterday, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said preparations for the 18th Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders’ Summit was progressing well. Ratu Inoke said he had briefed both Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister George Wells and Prime Minister Sato Kilman of the preparation and both were looking forward to coming to Fiji at the end of the month. This, he said, would be the second occasion that Fiji is hosting the MSG Leaders Summit; the first was in 1997.

The MSG was founded in 1986 and is made up of countries in the Melanesian region. On Timor Leste, Indonesia’s attendance he said - "Appropriate communication will be dispatched shortly by Fiji, in its capacity as Chair of the MSG, to Jakarta and Dili inviting them as observers to the MSG." While in Port Vila, Ratu Inoke was briefed by the MSG Secretariat on the agenda of the summit. "It looks as though we have a few items to dispose, but with Melanesian spirit, I’m confident that we will be able to accomplish our task," Ratu Inoke said.

The MSG Summit officially starts on Wednesday 23 March, with the Trade Officials Meeting (TOM), the Leaders’ Summit proper is scheduled to be held at the Vale ni Bose Complex in Draiba on 31 March.


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