‘MELANESIA MUST NOT BOW TO ANY FORM OF PRESSURE’

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‘MELANESIA MUST NOT BOW TO ANY FORM OF PRESSURE’ PNG foreign minister exhorts regional group

By Nanise Loanakadavu SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, April 1, 2011) - Papua New Guinea foreign affairs minister Don Poyle yesterday reminded his Melanesian colleagues not to bow to any form of pressure whether it’s regional or international.

Mr. Poyle was speaking at the 18th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Summit held at he Vale ni Bose complex in Suva yesterday.

"We must never lose sight of the fact that the MSG is a regional organization that consists of nations who are an integral part of the Pacific," Poyle said. "We also have an international persona that cannot be subjected to the dictates of nor subjected by instructional decisions of anybody or entity whether they be regional or international, including the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth."

Poyle also told them that they must not lose sight, as they progressed together, of the historical reason why the organizations came into being.

"FLNKS’ membership, while not a country, bears witness to this and is a constant reminder of why we must remain vigilant on the road to 2014 when the referendum is held under the Nouméa Accord," he said.

The Nouméa Accord of 1998 promises to grant political power to New Caledonia and its population, until the territory decides whether to remain within the French Republic or become an independent state in a referendum to be held between 2014 and 2019.

France will continue to control military and foreign affairs, immigration, police and currency until that time, and after if the population chooses to remain French.

Poyle said that his government would remain faithful to the MSG calling and participate at every level; the UN Committee of 24 and though the MSG Ministerial Missions to ensure that the aspirations and expectations of the FLNKS in the concert with all stakeholders in New Caledonia is fully incorporated into the deliberations that will lead to the referendum.

He said PNG would seriously consider participating in the work of the committee to oversee the implementation of the Nouméa Accord.

"Similarly, PNG will be happy to provide scholarships or arrange work attachments with our department, details of which we will discuss with FLNKS."

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