May 26, 2016

MSG Leaders not giving Special Summit serious attention, PNG postpones meeting

The Papua New Guinea Government has informed Melanesian Government capitals and the Secretariat in Port Vila its decision to postpone the Special Leader’s Summit planned for next week to another date.

PACNEWS has been reliably informed that Port Moresby has suggested the end of June or first week of July to the MSG Secretariat.

Chief among reasons for the deferment is the ‘inability of some member countries to participate fully in the Summit,’ PACNEWS was told.

PNG is not happy that ‘some MSG Leaders are not giving the Summit the serious attention it deserves.’

A number of heads of governments or their representatives have also made it known that they will not be at the summit on time or even attend it at all due to other commitments

PACNEWS was told Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has given early notice of not being able to attend the special summit as he had other scheduled official engagements in Europe. His Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, who is on an official visit to South Korea, will not be able to make it in time for the Foreign Ministers' Meeting that precedes the Leaders' Retreat.

The current chair of the MSG and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare has said he too would be unable to be present at the Leaders' Summit. Instead, PACNEWS understands, he will be in Port Moresby after the conclusion of the summit proper. He has not disclosed reasons for his notable absence.

It will be PNG's turn to inherit the MSG chairmanship and preside over the regional body for the next two years.

As host of the special MSG summit this year, the PNG Government has concluded that regional leaders are not giving the summit the serious attention it deserves. Upon direction of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, the government has postponed the Summit.

The MSG Secretariat in Port Vila, meanwhile, has been requested to consider rescheduling the special to another time possibly the end of June or early July 2016, when all member nations and other affiliated parties are able to attend it.