What the two MSG leaders, Sogavare & O’Neill, discuss

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The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Chair, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands has described his dialogue with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill as ‘very fruitful.’

The MSG Chair met with Hon O’Neill in the PNG Capital, Port Moresby yesterday, concluding his second and final round of consultations with MSG leaders since taking up the chairmanship of the Melanesian sub-regional grouping in June 2015.

The key issues of discussion included the following:

  • MSG Special Leaders’ Summit;
  • Outcome of the Meeting of the MSG sub-committee on Legal and Institutional Issues {SCLII) in Port Vila in December 2016. SCLII is the MSG sub-committee that makes recommendations to the MSG Governing Bodies- Senior Officials Meeting, Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Leaders’ Summit;
  • West Papua;
  • MSG Free Trade Agreement;
  • MSG Labour Mobility, Independent Review of the MSG Secretariat; and
  • MSG Chairmanship Handover from Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea.

Speaking after his meeting with Prime Minister O’Neill, the MSG Chair says “I had a very fruitful meeting with the PNG Prime Minister on the agendas of discussion as I also had with Prime Minister Charlot Salwai of Vanuatu, Victor Tutugoro of the FLNKS and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji earlier on in February”.

On the issue of Special Leaders’ Summit, the MSG Chair says he expressed regret over his inability to convene any Special Leaders’ Summit in December 2016 due to the non-availability of colleague leaders.

He says a Special Leaders’ Summit was supposed to be held to approve the recommendations from various bodies of MSG including SCLII.

However, the MSG Chair says the various bodies of the MSG- SCLII and Senior Officials Meeting (SOM)- did meet and made a number of recommendations to the Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) for submission to the Leaders’ Summit for final approval.

He says the MSG Capitals’ visit was therefore important to consult with colleague leaders on various recommendations from the various MSG Bodies for final approval

“I have met with both Prime Minister Charlot Salwai of Vanuatu and Victor Tutugoro of the FLNKS in Port Vila and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji in Suva as part of this second and final round of consultations earlier in February this year. I was supposed to travel on to Port Moresby to meet with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill but had to postpone the Port Moresby leg of the trip because the PNG Parliament was in session.

“I am now pleased that I finally met with Prime Minister O’Neill yesterday and my meeting with the PNG Prime Minister like my previous meetings with my other colleague leaders was very fruitful.”