14 Mar 2007

Fiji likely to be stopped from signing MSG agreement in Vanuatu

6:05 pm on 14 March 2007

The Melanesian Spearhead Group has confirmed that Fiji's interim government has been told it won't be allowed to sign the MSG agreement in Vanuatu next week.

The signing of the MSG's new formal constitution has been deferred until Friday March 23rd in Port Vila.

In recent weeks, Fiji was told in a letter from the interim Forum chairman, Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare, that its interim administration won't be allowed to sign the MSG agreement.

The head of the MSG secretariat, Johnny Koanapo, says Fiji's exclusion is a political decision that the leaders attending the MSG summit will need to finalise when they meet before the signing.

"That letter has been circulated but a decision has to be collectively endorsed at the summit but the chair has written that letter to everbody, so it looks very likely that they will endorse that decision at the summit and make it formal."

Johnny Koanapo says the MSG leaders will look at a more appropriate time for Fiji to sign the agreement.