MSG summit in doubt?
NO dates have been set yet on when leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) will meet to discuss the thorny issue of West Papua.
Islands Business magazine’s Letter from Suva is reporting that Fiji has objected to Vanuatu’s hosting of the proposed special MSG Leaders’ Summit.
“Initial dates of February 10 to 15 were deemed untenable by some Melanesian leaders,” said the Letter from Suva column, which is penned by Islands Business’ editor-in-chief Laisa Taga.
“In addition, Fiji reportedly had objected to the hosting of the summit by Vanuatu. Protocol it argued dictates that the current chair of the MSG should play host, and since the FLNKS hierarchy has indicated it was not ready to do so, they had approached Fiji to be the host instead.”
Fiji’s claim to host the special summit is being disputed however by some other MSG members.
The magazine is also reporting that the special summit is strictly for full members of the MSG only. No observer representatives will be invited.
Pro-independence movement in West Papua, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) is an observer with the MSG, as is the government of Indonesia which treats West Papua as one of its provinces and names it Irian Jaya.
FLNKS leader Victor Tutogo is the current chair of the MSG and he had called the special meeting to discuss the outcome of an MSG fact-finding mission to West Papua last month.
Vanuatu had objected to the agenda of the mission, complaining that its objective had been hijacked by Indonesia.
Instead of it being to investigate the application of the WPNCL to become a full member of the MSG, Vanuatu claimed the fact-finding mission led by Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola had been changed to look more into trade and economic ties with the Asian nation.
When Fiji chaired the MSG in 2012, Indonesia was admitted as an observer member of the MSG.
There are claims that if the MSG is not careful, Indonesia could dominate its agenda because it has the clout and money to do so.