18 Feb 2016

MSG chair on tour of Melanesia

5:50 pm on 18 February 2016

The chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and prime minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, has embarked on a tour of Melanesia.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare Photo: RNZI

Mr Sogavare arrived in Vanuatu for the first leg of a tour which will also take him to Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Caledonia.

In the capital Port Vila, he met with Vanuatu's newly elected prime minister Charlot Salwai.

Mr Sogavare said he welcomed the emergence of Mr Salwai and his new-look government after the recent turmoil in Vanuatu politics.

"This is no different from the other Melanesian countries. We've had our own problems and we have full confidence in the leadership of the new prime minister, that he will provide the stability that is much needed here in Vanuatu.

"And once we are stable, we can advance the objective of MSG together. Vanuatu is a very important partner in that regard."

Mr Sogavare has also been supporting moves by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to open offices around Melanesia, including in Indonesia's Papua province.

The Liberation Movement was last year granted observer status at the MSG during its leader summit in Honiara when Mr Sogavare become chairman.