Somare proposes Fiji to lead MSG humanitarian and response force
By Online Editor
4:12 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Fiji
iji has been urged to lead an MSG-led regional humanitarian and response force, to be activated in times of natural disaster.
The force is more needed now, given that Melanesian Spearhead (MSG) countries are situated in an area prone to natural disaster, observed Sir Michael Somare, the former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
He was in Suva this week to launch the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), which is being celebrated in all the member countries capitals.
Speaking at the launch Monday, Sir Michael said given success of regional co-operative arrangement under the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and the Bougainville regional Peacekeeping force and Kumul force deployment to Vanuatu, the idea is ‘so far-fetched.’
“This must be seriously considered by our governments. If the wider Forum region is still harbouring some reservation to this proposal then MSG can take a lead.
I note the MSG is progressing this matter through the proposed Humanitarian and Emergency Response Force, said Sir Michael.
The MSG countries – Fiji, FLNKS of New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – are situated in an area prone to natural disasters.
“Timely response by individual countries is often lacking due to capacity constraints.
This is further compounded by resource limitations thus exacting unnecessary suffering on our peoples.
“More often than not, the devastation itself renders individual governments responses inadequate, said the PNG leader.
The MSG 25th Jubilee celebrations have the theme “Celebrating Melanesian Solidarity and Growth.
(Posted below) Video of FBC TV news segment covering the summary of Sir Michael Somare's speech at the MSG celebrations, including brief excerpts from the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji, Patterson Oti and Fiji's former Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka.