MSG Leaders Sign Three Treaties, Strengthen Organization

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Treatment of Children; Police Cooperation; Foreign Judgments agreed to

By Nanise Loanakadavu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 24, 2013) – Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders have signed three treaties that will further strengthen the sub-regional organisation.

The documents, signed following the conclusion of the 19th Leaders Summit in Noumea, New Caledonia, are: Treaty on the Custody and Maintenance of Children; Treaty on Reciprocal Enforcement on Foreign Judgments; and Memorandum of Agreement on Police Co-operation.

A statement from the government said the leaders also launched the Revised Draft Trade Agreement negotiations, the MSG Humanitarian, Emergency and Response Co-ordination Centre, the MSG Department of Peacekeeping and the MSG Silver Jubilee Scholarship in memory of one of its founding fathers, Father Walter Lini.

Outgoing MSG chairman Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said a department of peacekeeping operations had been established at the MSG Secretariat to help establish a MSG Peacekeeping Unit for peacekeeping missions.

He said meaningful steps had been made towards the full implementation of the MSG Trade Agreement with the ongoing removal of tariffs for trade between member nations.

"The MSG Skills Movement Scheme will now provide for the free movement of skilled personnel within the region," Commodore Bainimarama said.

He added that for the past two years notable achievements had been made in the areas of customs co-operation, bio-security, fisheries, and culture preservation.

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