15 Dec 2010

Fiji says MSG chairmanship will be handed over today

9:20 am on 15 December 2010

Fiji's Ministry of Information says the Melanesian Spearhead Group chairmanship will be handed over to Fiji in Solomon Islands today.

Fiji Live reports the chairmanship will be handed over following a reconciliation ceremony between Vanuatu and Fiji at the Honiara cultural centre.

Fiji's representative to the meeting, the interim foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola will receive the chairmanship from new Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman via the Solomons government.

Mr Kilman took over from the former prime minister and MSG chair Edward Natapei.

Under Mr Natapei's leadership, an MSG meeting scheduled to be held in Fiji in July was cancelled.

He claimed that the MSG should be presided over by an elected prime minister and not Commodore Frank Bainimarama who came to power in a military coup.

Fiji's information ministry says the Speaker of the Solomon Islands Parliament, Sir Allan Kemakeza, will first invite chiefs of the MSG countries to come forward and join hands to reaffirm the acceptance of the reconciliation.

It says chiefs from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will then make the declaration and confirm Fiji as the new chair of the MSG.