25 Mar 2011

Vanuatu told it should consider pulling out of MSG now Fiji's Bainimarama heads the body

11:22 am on 25 March 2011

Vanuatu's opposition leader, Edward Natapei, says the country should reconsider its membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Last year, when Mr Natapei was Vanuatu's leader, he was involved in an acrimonious spat with the interim prime minister of Fiji, Commodore Frank Bainimarama after cancelling an MSG summit scheduled to be held in Fiji.

Mr Natapei was concerned that handing the chairmanship to an unelected leader undermined the democratic values of the MSG.

Since then Commodore Bainimarama has got the job and is set to chair a summit next week, but Mr Natapei is warning Vanuatu should distance itself from the military regime in Fiji.

"We have to make up our minds what whether or not we value democracy or not. Vanuatu should consider seriously whether or not we should be participating in the MSG now that it's chaired by a non-democratically elected government."