1 Apr 2011

Vanuatu PM presents gifts to Fiji's Bainimarama

2:23 pm on 1 April 2011

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Sato Kilman has presented traditional gifts to his Fiji counterpart Commodore Frank Bainimarama at a special meeting in downtown Suva today.

The ceremony follows the conclusion of the 18th Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit hosted by Commodore Bainimarama, the MSG chairman.

Johnny Blades reports.

"A symbolic gesture of Melanesian solidarity, Mr Kilmans exchange of traditional mats, root crops and a pig was a way of thanking Commodore Bainimarama for his hospitality this week. Mr Kilman has gained considerable political mileage from events surrounding the summit. After the previous Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei had refused to pass on the MSG chairmanship to Fijis unelected government last year, Mr Kilman, upon toppling Mr Natapei, moved quickly to resolve the impasse. The Fiji interim regimes gratitude to Mr Kilman has been clearly evident this week, especially after he emerged as the only other Prime Minister at the summit, with Papua New Guineas Sir Michael Somare staying at home and Danny Philip having to rush back to Solomon Islands to deal with a motion no-confidence against his government."