PNG remains committed to MSG, says Pato

12:14 pm on 31 March 2016

The Melanesian Spearhead Group's full members will address its resourcing issues, according to Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato.

The PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato

The PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato Photo: Koro Vaka'uta / RNZ

It's more than four months since the director-general of the MSG Secretariat, Peter Forau, resigned, citing lack of budgetary support and declining commitment from MSG countries to the group's programme.

While the group is yet to appoint a replacement, Mr Pato said member states have a firm grasp on the issues after the recent regional tour by the MSG chairman, the Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Pato conceded that funding remained an issue for all members of the regional grouping, but that PNG's support for the secretariat was firm.

"We've gone out of our way to support for example the core objective of the establishment of the MSG, that is the issue of self-determination for the Melanesian peoples in New Caledonia, the FLNKS. So we've committed and Solomons is very genuine about how those issues should be resolved together by all of the Melanesian members of the MSG group."

Rimbink Pato said that his government had initially put forward a senior PNG diplomat as its candidate for the MSG director-general position but had since decided to withdraw the name.

Mr Pato wouldn't be drawn on which member state might put forward a candidate.