15 Aug 2005

Melanesian leaders to discuss creating a regional security force

7:31 am on 15 August 2005

Creating a regional security force in the Pacific is on the agenda for discussion at a meeting of Melanesian leaders in Papua New Guinea that gets underway today.

PNG's Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, is quoted by the Australian Associated Press as saying the summit, at Goroka in PNG's highlands, will discuss the possibility of such a force becoming a Pacific Forum entity.

Sir Rabbie said the need for such a force had been borne out by what has been happening in the Solomon Islands.... a reference to the regional peace mision that was sent in 2003 to quell the ethnic tensions.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group encompasses PNG, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu with New Caledonia as an observer.