7 Jun 2010

Academic says Fiji regime trying to hijack Melanesian Spearhead Group

7:54 pm on 7 June 2010

There are claims that the Fiji interim government is trying to hijack net month's Melanesian Spearhead Group summit.

Fiji is to host the meeting.

Fiji Broadcasting says non-Melanesian countries are to attend and reports the interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, saying they have shown the true Pacific way of maintaining dialogue.

But academic, Dr Brij Lal, says Fiji is trying to garner support among smaller island nations and is hijacking the MSG whose originally aim was to increase contact and trade between Melanesian countries.

"Fiji is trying to use the Melanesian Spearhead Group as a kind of a vehicle to promote itself as the leader of the region, as someone who will stand up to the international community, who will fight for the sovereignty of the Pacific Island nations. What is happening is that the MSG is being hijacked for purposes other than for which it was established in the first place."

Dr Lal says the region's primary inter government agency, the Pacific Islands Forum, has a strong infrastructure and legitimacy that will be very difficult to displace.