22 Nov 2010

MSG meeting planned in Solomons for mid-December

2:08 pm on 22 November 2010

A three-day meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to reconcile Vanuatu and the Fiji interim regime is being planned for next month in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara.

The meeting, initiated by the Solomon Islands government, comes after the Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei scuttled the MSG summit in Fiji in July.

He was opposed to the chair of the MSG passing to Fiji's leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who took power in a military coup four years ago.

The Solomons' foreign minister Peter Shanel says a reconciliation is one of three issues to be sorted.

"This is our Melanesian way of doing things. Once relationships are broken it can only be amended by reconciliation. Secondly is to get Fiji out of its self-suspension from the MSG and allow Fiji to communicate and dialogue with the other Melanesian countries, and then thirdly we will talk about the handover of the chairmanship."

Peter Shanel says his government has no concerns about Fiji assuming the chair of the MSG.

He says the meetings are to be held from December 15 to the 17th.