Vanuatu Daily Post, By Len Garae,Dec 24, 2016
The Melanesian Spearhead Group Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting at the Secretariat in Port Vila this week has not dealt with Indonesia’s Associate Membership of MSG or West Papua’s Observer Status of MSG.
The Chairman of the meeting who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and external Trade of the Solomon Islands, Milner Tozaka said his team has reviewed the procedures to be dealt with by the Leaders early next year.
Asked what the new recommendations are the Chairman explained, “One of the important recommendations is a guideline whereby any new application for membership, will have to be forwarded firstly to the Director General (of MSG), who will be consulting the leaders for their direction as to whether to consider the application or not, and subject to their approval, then they would consider the application”.
He made it clear the meeting this week did not deal with either of the two applications.
“The (MSG) legal institution to revisit the application for membership as well as the associate membership has been done and we have not gone into considering the applications for either of them,” the Chairman explained.
Asked if the meeting has agreed that the two applications are in order, he replied, “The status quo remains the same. Nothing has changed in relation to Indonesia as an Associate Member and West Papua as an Observer”.
The Chairman said any changes would only take place after the leaders meet to consider the new criteria have been recommended by the Legal Committee to the leaders for their deliberations next year.
The current Chair said the next meeting will depend on the new Chairman of MSG in consultation with his colleagues but that it is expected to be held early next year.
While farewelling the staff of MSG Secretariat and wishing them and their families “merry Christmas” over kava and snacks at the Secretariat yesterday, the Chairman said, “Following the appointment of Ambassador (Amena) Yauvoli, a Governing body meeting was convened and hosted by Fiji in the beautiful city of Lautoka in early June this year.
“The outcome of the meeting was politically significant for MSG as members re-energised their deliberations on the agenda of membership issue and guideline.
“The outcome of this particular discussion in our meeting this week has further paved the way for our Leaders to deliberate on the issue in 2017.