The new Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Peter Forau, has declined to explain whether Fiji's Commodore Frank Bainimarama can be the organisation's chair.
Last year, Vanuatu's former prime minister, Edward Natapei, refused to hand over the chairmanship to Fiji, saying the MSG constitution has no provision to have an unelected person, such as Commodore Bainimarama, at the helm.
Mr Forau, who has taken over the MSG office in Vanuatu, says he doesn't want to elaborate on the veracity or otherwise of Mr Natapei's view.
"I would like to respect the comments of our senior statesmen around this time of the world. Obviously I'm not a politician and would like to abstain from making any comments on that."