15 Jan 2007

Melanesian Spearhead Group upset by Australian attitudes to Pacific nations

11:06 am on 15 January 2007

The delegates at the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting held in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara in the weekend, have accused Australia of bullying and trying to dominate their affairs.

Foreign Ministers from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, hosts Solomons and Vanuatu met to discuss a wide range of issues including the recent military coup.

Elma MaUa reports

"Solomons Foreign Minister, Patterson Oti attacked the RAMSI mission saying it has mutated from a regional initiative to an Australian hegemony. Relations have cooled between the two nations after top diplomat Patrick Cole was expelled by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. Australia then fell out with PNG after it's national security chief allegedly assisted the escape of Solomons new chief legal officer Julian Moti who was wanted for alleged child sex offences. The military coup in Fiji in December also angered Australia who stopped support for the soldiers taking part in the RAMSI mission. But Mr Oti says Australia has no right to cut Fiji from the mission without consultation. Meanwhile the MSG group has supported Fiji's interim government, adding that they should not be suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum."