27 Jul 2006

MSG to continue discussions on setting up own joint security force

7:28 pm on 27 July 2006

The Melanesian Spearhead Group, or MSG, is pressing ahead with discussions on a proposal to set up its own joint security force.

The MSG chairman, Gabriel Pepson, says officials from the organisation, which groups together Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu, will meet soon to talk about the logistics of setting up such a force.

Mr Pepson, who is PNG's foreign secretary, says they will look at the structure, the financial resources that would be needed, the numbers of people that would be required, and the control mechanisms that would have to be put in place.

"Our officials from our defence forces and police, and the others where they don't have military forces, from the police forces - they will be meeting in the second week of August to go into the details of how such a force can be established."

Mr Pepson says there's been no discussion with the Forum, which the MSG countries also belong to, but he says it is not unaware of the idea.