31 Mar 2011

Philip returns to Solomons ahead of MSG summit opening in Fiji

12:30 pm on 31 March 2011

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Danny Philip, has left Suva shortly before the opening of the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in Fiji.

This follows moves by the opposition in Honiara to try to dislodge his seven-month old government with a no confidence motion.

As a result, the Vanuatu prime minister, Sato Kilman, is the only foreign head of government attending today's summit in Suva, apart from the host, Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

The Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has sent his foreign minister, Don Polye, as he is to step aside for two weeks on Monday in line with a leadership tribunal ruling.

The head of the FLNKS delegation, Victor Tutugoro, has returned to New Caledonia because of a death in the family.

Last year's MSG summit in Fiji was cancelled by the then chair, Edward Natapei of Vanuatu, because he refused to hand over the MSG leadership to an unelected leader.