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     Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Director General Forau opens MSG Special Summit Sub-Committee on Legal and Institutional issues meet

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19th March, 2012, Fiji Police Academy, Suva: The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Sub-Committee on Legal and Institutional Issues (SCLII) met today at the Fiji Police Academy in Suva, Fiji to discuss ways to strengthen legal and institutional issues in Melanesia.

The SCLII sub-committee is the frontline committee of legal and institutional issues of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Member countries will discuss keys issues concerning MSG and finalize the on-going review of the Agreement Establishing the MSG. The agreement is an important document that gives recognition to and forms the basis of MSG as a regional organization.

The SCLII was officially opened by the Director General of MSG, Mr Peter Forau. DG Forau welcomed and thanked the current Chair Mr Esala Nayasi, Director Political and Treaties of the Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and participants from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji for attending the one-day meeting.

MSG countries at the Special session will discuss key issues for consideration by Leaders at their Special MSG Leader’s Summit at the end of this month.

The delegates are tasked to discuss four on-going important legal and institutional issues concerning the MSG organization including the Agreement Establishing the MSG.

A key issue to be discussed today by member countries is the future relationship of the MSG organization with external and interested partners/countries/territories that may want to associate with MSG.  Delegates are also going to discuss the legal issues surrounding the movement of the people in the Melanesian region in terms of visa arrangements between member countries and how the member countries can consider the harmonization of laws within the MSG region.

Delegates were also urged to make careful consideration of the important issues that are essential in the forum as expected by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Senior Officials before their outcomes are again presented to SOM and FMM.

The outcomes from the Special SCLII will be presented to the Senior Officials Meeting at the end of this week and later presented to the Foreign Ministers Meeting next week.

(Photo caption left-right: Chairman Mr Esala Nayasi, Acting Director Political Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, with Ms Barbara Age Director Political Affairs, MSG Secretariat)

(To view more photos, please click here)

Copy of DG Forau's remarks below:

 


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Opening Remarks by Mr. Peter Forau, Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group at the 7th Sub-Committee on Legal & Institutional Issues (SCLII),Fiji Police Academy, Nasova, Suva, Fiji, 19 March 2012

 Mr. Esala Nayasi, Director Political and Treaties Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Fiji and Chair of the SCLII

Heads of Delegation of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji

Members of your Delegations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

May I join the Chair in extending a warm welcome to you all and to thank you gratefully for making time to come and attend this meeting.

This is of course a follow-up meeting agreed to by the SCLII at its meeting in Port Vila in February 2012 to provide another opportunity for members to finalize their national consultations on the matters in your agenda before the SCLII makes a final determination in readiness for Leaders consideration through the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM).

I dare say this is perhaps the most important preparatory meeting ahead of the Governing Bodies meetings as it will need to clear a number of key legal and institutional matters that affect MSG cooperation including the Agreement Establishing the MSG.

It goes without saying that some importance is placed on your meeting as these matters cannot proceed further without your clearance.

Unfortunately you have only one day to complete your deliberations which makes the time available to you quite tight.

However, with the able leadership of the Chair and your cooperation, we have confidence that you will be able to successfully complete your meeting today in order to allow the SOM and FMM to consider these matters ahead of the Leaders meeting next week.

In the event that the Committee requires more time which is not unexpected then perhaps you may have to prioritize your agenda and focus on the issues that you can resolve while leaving others for further consideration at your scheduled meeting in July.

This is of course only an option and we would urge that you try your best to resolve the matters before you in order that the Chair will have a good report to the SOM and FMM.

On that note we wish you all the best and thank you all for listening.

God Bless

Vinaka Vakalevu