"At the outset, let me acknowledge the government and the people of Papua New Guinea for the warm hospility accorded to all of us delegates. I want also to congratulate PNG on assuming the chairmanship of the MSG this year. I wish also to acknowledge and thank the outgoing chair, the Solomon Islands for their able leadership as chair of the MSG for the last three years. I comment the theme of this 21st Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit : Strengthening Trade and Sustainable Development for an inclusive Melanesia, as being aptly aligned to the MSG 2038  Prosperity for All Plan, which constitutes our leaders vision for the Development of the MSG over the next two decades. There have been several Developments from the MSG in this regard which are to be acknowledged. In our quest to be the leading subregional organisation in advancing the socio economic development and political intrests of Melanesia and of the wider Pacific we must not lose the sight of the core founding principle of the Groupong, political independence for our melanesian brothers and sisters. This the reason d'etre for this Group and it must not be diluted  in our wider considerations. While we strive for strong economic development opportunities we must be equally strong and vocal on this founding principle and foundational mandate. If there are any reasons and obstacles impeding our work in progressing this mandate further then we as MSG members around this table need to look at options available. Fufthermore honorable chair we take not of the structural reforms that are been undertaken by the secretariat. It is Vanuatu's position that such reforms must comply with the legislation of host country and must insure that the key core mandate of this organisation is not diluted. Importantly we must ensure that the concensus of our leaders as the basic governance principle  of this organisation is paramount at all times in guiding the administrative work of the secretariat. Our Group strive to maintain balance between the economic development vision of the MSG while at the same time creating space to advocate and support our collective efforts in advocating the plight of our neighbours. The collective voice of the group must resonate with this pertinent issue at the United Nations Committee of 24 and I note it is an opportune time now that we have two of our member countries represented on this Commettee. Vanuatu would like to see MSG a more active role in putting back to focus on our foundamental founding principle of political self-determination of Melanesian people. We acknowledge MSG support towards the FLNKS 2018 referundum and we must continue to do post referundum. There remains the issue of West Papuans and in particular the long outstanding issue on the application of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua for membership of the MSG. The MSG must play a more consistent and streghtened role in this respect".

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