New Caledonia FLNKS Spokesman Elected As MSG Chair

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Tutugoro says chairmanship will ensure regional relationships

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 4, 2013) – At its annual meeting last week, the spokesperson for the Front de Libération Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), Victor Tutugoro was unanimously elected to be the next chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) from June this year to 2015, according to Radio Djido and PACNEWS.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Meeting will be staged in June this year in New Caledonia’s capital, Noumea.

Immediately after his election, the new PM Moana Carcasses told Daily Post he is confident the new government he is leading will contribute positively in the upcoming MSG Meeting in Noumea in June.

FLNKS is a pro-independence movement made up of four political parties - the Union Calédonienne (UC), Union Progressiste Mélanésienne (UPM), Parti de Libération Kanak (PALIKA) and Rassemblement Démocratique Océanien (RDO).

Radio Djido reports the independence movement has had no President since 2002. Tutugoro was the spokesperson for the party.

The other candidate for the MSG chair was Roch Wamytan, who previously held the post from 2001-2003.

Wamytan and Paul Neaoutyine, the President of the Northern Province will be nominees for the MSG Eminent Persons Group.

Tutugoro thanked supporters for their confidence in his leadership.

"Taking over this chairmanship will ensure our regional relations. It is to advance the Kanak cause and continue our process of decolonization," Tutugoro said.

Tutugoro is the President of the UPM party. He signed the Noumea Accord on behalf of the FLNKS in 1998.

Daily Post understands that high up on the agenda for Noumea June MSG Meeting will be the issue of Indonesia observer status and removal from that status and replaced by West Papua with observer status.

One political observer in Vanuatu commented on the issue of Indonesia-West Papua: "MSG Leaders will have their status as "True Melanesian Leaders" tested at the upcoming June Noumea MSG Meeting when the issue of Indonesia and West Papua is table for discussions, if it is accepted and tabled," he said.

The former Prime Minister, Ham Lini, told Daily Post prior to his departure as DPM: "West Papua observer status must be on the agenda during the MSG Noumea Meeting."

On the other hand the Shefa Provincial Government has made its stand clear on the issue by stating that: "SHEFA is home of the West Papuan."

Tutugoro could steer the MSG leaders in Noumea in June 2013 that could see Indonesia losing its observer status on MSG while West Papua is voted in with observer status.

New Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nipake Nataepi just before his election to the second top Vanuatu post that Indonesia is not a Melanesian country: " You cannot have Melanesia plus Melanesia and plus."

Daily Post also understands that trade, climate change, security in the region and political agendas for West Papua and New Caledonia Fiji’s current political stand could be amongst top agendas for the New Caledonia meet in June this year.

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