(G) Government Statement on Deferment of MSG Plus Meeting

The Government of Fiji is disappointed with the Chair of the MSG’s call to defer the Summit so late in our preparation and without exhausting all the political options and avenues available to him to resolve the so-called “impasse within the grouping over the Chairmanship of the MSG”.

To our knowledge only Vanuatu has an issue with Fiji hosting the MSG Summit with both the Prime Ministers of PNG and the Solomon Islands writing to the Chair last week seeking his understanding and support for Fiji to host and chair the MSG Summit.

And that understanding was based on the Melanesian custom of deferring to your host when entering his/her village or bure.

The Chair’s suggestion for him to chair the meeting hosted by Fiji sought to dispossess our Prime Minister of his role and responsibilities of hosting in his own country. It is therefore ironic that the Chair would quote Melanesian values and traditional practices when offering support to Fiji in his press statement.

Fiji hopes that the Chair would consider Prime Minister Bainimarama’s suggestion conveyed via his letter of 8 July to convene as early as next week the “Special Meeting of MSG Leaders” to resolve the Chairmanship issue.

This is an important issue for the MSG region and it is important that the Chair will not delay its discussion unnecessarily.  

Solo Mara
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Int. Cooperation & Civil Aviation
12 July 2010


Anonymous said…

To be balanced you should start by reporting that MSG meeting has been cancelled and that the chair raised concerns about Frank hosting it...."There are basic fundamental principles and values of democracy and good governance that our organisation is built on and we must continue to uphold them".
Frank's big loss of face said…
Croz, the following Radio NZ story in the past hour explains this extraordinary development.

The MSG has delivered a total humiliation to Frank from which it's difficult to see him recovering for a long time.

This will take the strut out of the regime, that's for sure. Too smart by half in proceeding with MSG Plus without lining up the numbers among the other
Melanesian members. Qori.


Next week’s summit of Melanesian leaders in Fiji is off with the current chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, saying it’s been deferred until further notice.
He suggests that having Fiji host the meeting and allowing the interim Fiji leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to become chair is a threat to the organisation’s values.
Mr Natapei says it’s a collective decision by Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the FLNKS in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, in light of an impasse over the chairmanship of the organisation.
Melanesian double cross said…
Croz, there's obviously some good old fashioned Melanesian treachery involved in all of this. Last week, PNG PM Sir Michael Somare, urged everyone to accept Fiji's chairmanship of the MSG. The implication of his statement was that there was a big bun fight behind the scenes. Was Somare rolled or did he double cross Frank? Because the Vanuatu leader's statement says all MSG members were in agreement in pulling the plug on Fiji. Just goes to show you can't trust anyone in the islands. But then it was ever thus.

Frank now has egg all over his face big time. What will he do? My guess is he'll blame the Aussies and the Kiwis and kick their people out again. There were hints of this when they attacked the Aussie HC yesterday. Frank will be apoplectic with rage. He's never been humiliated so badly.
Total humiliation said…
This is total humiliation. The military government needs to find some people with talent ASAP. Fiji is being made a mockery of. how much further downwards can we go?
Disaster for Fiji said…
This is the end of Frank's fantasy about using the MSG to drive a wedge through the Forum. He's had his legs removed from under him not by Australia and NZ but his Melanesian brothers. The blow to Frank's pride ( and Fiji's pride ) can't be underestimated. It's a total disaster. What it means is that Frank is on his own, with just a couple of small inconsequential players like Tuvalu prepared to side with him. It's also the end of Frank being able to pretend to the international community that its Melanesian brothers understand what's happening in Fiji. They understand all right and have given the dictatorship its marching orders. Frank's prestige with the Chinese and the Arabs, among others, is also toast. They know now that he's on his own. How did it happen? Good old fashioned arrogance and an unwillingness to understand that civilian politics is all about doing the numbers. Frank didn't make sure the ducks were lined up with the Melanesian leadership and now they've flown. He'll be so bitter about all of this that Fiji's relations with the other Melanesian countries can't help but be affected. And when Frank's mad ( in the American use of the word), he's dangerous. I hope it doesn't happen but I think blind rage will see the stand-off with Australia and NZ escalate. And with no-one to press his case on the sidelines let alone caution vaka malua, his military mind will kick in and it'll be all guns blazing. A very dangerous time for Fiji generally, mark my words. He'll also be very angry with his foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, for not making sure everything was "set, bro". Indeed, Kubuabola is very exposed and I wouldn't mind betting Frank demands his resignation. This is a diplomatic disaster of the first order and he ought to fall on his sword. If the numbers weren't there, why did they proceed with this farce in the first place? All those rooms booked at the Intercon, all the welcoming ceremonies being rehearsed. For not dotting the i's and crossing the t's, Fiji's reputation in the region has been trashed.
Expulsions start said…
Breaking news, Croz. Precisely what I said would happen. It's on...again.


Australia's acting high commissioner to Fiji will be forced to leave on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says.

Sarah Roberts has been told by the secretary of the Fijian Ministry for Foreign Affairs she would be issued with a formal notice to leave the country on Tuesday.
What the****? said…
Croz, you ask the question - "Na Sala Cava?". Tonight I think we got the answer. Na Sala Dredre or the hard road.

The regime seems like a headless chook. lurching from crisis to crisis with no real idea of what its priorities should be. OK, Frank and Aiyaz have been in South Korea trying to impress the IMF. But events tonight tell us that they should have been closer to home trying to shore up their support in the MSG.

They should never have taken this for granted and have been far too trusting of people like Sir Michael Somare. Sure, he's been a good friend of Fiji in the past. But he's also a wily Melanesian politician (maybe even the best of them) and Frank should have known that when the chips were down, he'd put his own interests first.

Somare has had the Aussie Foreign Minister in Port Moresby in the past few days and it's no secret that Smith has been putting the heavies on him not to undermine the Forum by allowing Frank to hijack the MSG. Somare obviously decided his first loyalty was to his Australian patrons and his kai vata in the Solomons and Vanuatu.

Somare also heads the region's most chaotic democracy. Hey, guess who owns PNG's biggest paper, the Post Courier? Yes, Rupert Murdoch. So hello Frank. Why on earth did you bring on a fight with News Limited over the Fiji Times at such a delicate time? Murdoch is someone not to be messed with. He controls much of the Australian media at a time when everyone knows Australia is about to go to the polls. And he also has a big say in PNG and influence over Somare.

I despair at the lack of strategic nous in the Fiji Government that doesn't see these car crashes coming. We're all about to suffer yet again because of the regime's stupidity. Many of us keep making excuses for them. But you'd have to admit that with this latest crisis, it's getting beyond a joke and a lot more people will be asking just how much more the country can take.
SOE said…
Will Ms Sarah Roberts' mooted departure be such a big loss? Someone we learn who has not even been briefed to dress herself appropriately on occasion? This poor briefing of diplomats from the South has happened more than once: multiple times in fact. Australian taxpayers ought to be asking themselves about where their tax dollars are going? In the production of steady farce is the answer. Their diplomatic presence has been mostly a joke for at least ten years. Inappropriately versed in the modus vivendi and incapable of delivering on a regional solution for democratic evolution which is fair, measured and lasting. If they leave yet again with their tails tucked behind their legs......"answer to your democracy and to those who pay you: the Australian Taxpayer", Dame Edna would do a better job one is inclined to think. Call for Barry Hemphries - 'She'll be right'!
They still don't get it said…
SOE, can you please give us chapter and verse on Ms Robert's failure to dress properly? It's the first I've heard of it. But, yes, Australian diplomats not knowing how to behave has always been a problem in the Pacific. I'm not talking about misbehaviour in a western sense but a failure to school themselves adequately in local protocol. At best, this can lead to raised eyebrows, at worst it can cause offence. It's strange how DFAT will spend hours telling its diplomats how to behave in places like Saudi Arabia but not when posted to countries on its doorstep. Guess that's because we're not important in their eyes. But then they can hardly complain when we get upset.
sara'ssista said…
It must be awfull to feel the genius that is in charge of fiji these days and his military junta have been easily outflanked due to the very rubbery alliances in melanesia. Again. They know that they are only a 'hairs-breadth' away from a coup themselves. But he is always quick rather than denounce their spinelessness, to attack aus and nz, but its okay we survive and prosper.

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