26 Mar 2007

MSG changes wording of co-operation agreement so that Fiji can sign

10:56 am on 26 March 2007

The inclusion of Fiji's interim administration in the signing of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, MSG, co-operation agreement has been made possible through last minute changes to the preamble of the document.

MSG Secretariat official, Johnny Koanapo says the initial concern raised by Papua New Guinea was based on the preamble of the MSG Agreement.

He told the Solomon Island Broadcasting Corporation that they made a changes allowing Fiji to puts its signature on the agreement.

Mr Koanapo says it was basically changing 'government' to 'state' in the preamble.

A senior MSG government official says the worry of MSG countries was based on the status of the interim administration in Fiji.

He says it's safe to describe all the MSG governments as states, looking into the future, if any of these governments also undergo Fiji's situation.

During final consultations in Honiara, it's understood that Solomon Islands again raised concern that Fiji's signature would have implications for the group.

They implied that if Fiji signed, it would affect the MSG's attempt to jointly get donor assistance.