PM Bainimarama’s MSG Visit To New Caledonia Postponed

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PM Bainimarama’s MSG Visit To New Caledonia Postponed MSG maintains ‘non-interference’ stance towards French territory

By Losalini Rasoqosoqo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, June 26, 2012) – The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has postponed next week’s ministerial visit to New Caledonia to a later date.

This is because of some political developments in the French Territory.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, in his capacity as MSG chairman, was to have led the delegation to monitor and assess the implementation of the Noumea Accord after it was decided at the MSG Special Leaders’ Summit in March.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, said the MSG fully adhered to the principle of non-interference with the domestic affairs of any country when deciding to postpone the visit.

It was initially planned for June 30 to July 7.

Ratu Inoke said the decision was reached after much deliberation to be postponed to a later date at a more appropriate time.

"The Ministerial Visit to New Caledonia has a set of clear objectives that it wants to achieve during the visit. In this regard, it would not be prudent to go ahead with the visit if it may not serve the purpose of further advancing the decolonization process in New Caledonia in a more effective and holistic manner," Ratu Inoke said.

"MSG remains steadfast in its commitment to uphold the right to self-determination of the people of New Caledonia in accordance with the Noumea Accord, both through the MSG and the United Nations Decolonization Committee.

"At the same time, MSG fully adheres to the principle of non-interference with the domestic affairs of any country. We must acknowledge the political development that is ongoing in New Caledonia. We, therefore, should not be seen to be interfering with its sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.

The new date of the ministerial visit will be confirmed in due course.

Some non-Kanak New Caledonian politicians had earlier tried to stop the visit because they did not want Commodore Bainimarama to visit, claiming it went against the position taken by the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia and New Zealand.


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