The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) grants Indonesia an observer status at its summit meeting in Suva, Fiji next week.
East Timor also has been granted observer status, while a founding member of the European Union, Luxembourg, has been invited as a special guest.
Fiji’s leader and MSG chairman, Frank Bainimarama, says the decision to invite Indonesia as observer is a historic moment in the young life of the MSG, which was formed in 2005.
The MSG is an intergovernmental organization made up of the four Pacific Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as well as the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) of New Caledonia with headquarters in Vanuatu.
The MSG was heavily involved in political discussions following Fiji’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum in May 2009 because its non return to democracy and was accused by the West, especially Australia and New Zealand.
Indonesia applied for official observer status at the MSG on February 2011.
It shows that Indonesia is open and ready at how to tackle some of the prickly issues the group may deal with – including the West Papuan independence movement.***(wpnn)