May I convey our delegation's sincere appreciation to the government and people of Papua New Guinea for warm hospitality accorded to our delegation. I congratulate Papua New Guinea for assuming the chair of the MSG for the next three years. I also wish to acknowledge the outgoing chair, Solomon Islands for their leadership over the last three years.
It would also be remiss of me not to acknowledge the effort of the director General of the MSG secretariat and hid arrangement and meeting papers to facilitate this 21st larders summit in this beautiful city of Port Moresby.
Our region in Melanesia id undergoing numerous changes and exciting developments ahead that are drawing the spot light on our region. I want to acknowledge the Government of the Republic of Fiji for assuming presidency of the COP23- a very important undertaking for Fiji and our region in the pacific as most of our countries are extremely vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters.
I also want to acknowledge the effort and the preparation of the Government and the people of Papua New Guinea in hosting the APEC meeting here in your beautiful country and showcasing Papua New Guinea to the world to experience the Melanesian Hospitality.
Hon. Chair, you would agree with me that the MSG originated from a vision backed by strong political desire to strive for the entire decolonization of our sub-region and freedom of the Melanesian people still under the colonial rule.
The leader agreed at their inaugural meeting held in Goroka , Papua New-Guinea on 17 July 1986 that it was important to have common positions and solidarity in spearheading regional issues that are of common interest including the FLNKS cause for the political independence in New Caledonia and the rest of Melanesia countries that are still struggling for political liberation. It is important to remind ourselves leaders of this august organization that in the guest to be the leading organization in advancing the socio-economic development and political interest of Melanesia and the wider Pacific, we must not lose sight of the core founding principle of this grouping, the achievement of the political independence for our Melanesian brothers and sisters. This is the raison d'être for this group, and it must not be diluted in our wider consideration. I therefore encourage the MSG to work in collaboration with parties concerned and encouraged dialogue between Indonesia and West Papua to progress the issue forward as this has been the case with France and FLNKS.
Hon. Chair, I trust that under your chairmanship you will re-direct the work of the secretariat to realign its program to key agreed principals of the MSG and promote a collaborative dialogue in all its endeavour.
At this juncture, i wanted to seize this opportunity to once again express my sincere appreciation to the outgoing chair of the MSG for its strong leadership in steering the work of the MSG secretariat through various political, social and economic challenges confronting our Melanesian region.
Hon. Chair, the recent Border treaty between Solomon Islands and Vanuatu that i signed with the then Prime Minister of Solomon Island hon. Manasseh Sogovare on October 2016 at Motalava reflected the true Melanesian spirit and values we want to promote within the MSG region. This treaty is also officially known as the " Motalava Treaty".
The " Motalava Treaty" is a testament to our close political relationship based on our Melanesian tradition and values that guide the discussions leading to the conclusion of the treaty.
The decision was a milestone for the two Nation, concluding some 33 years of negotiations, which began in 1993. Hon. Chair, this is a clear demonstration of the Melanesian spirit that i believed our founding fathers of the MSG wanted to see develop and promote within the MSG secretariat as a way of overcoming unforeseeable challenges that may hinder the process of strengthening trade and sustainable for an inclusive Melanesia.
On that note, allow me to convey the Vanuatu Government appreciation to the FLNKS for its recognition and declaration of Matthew and Hunter islands as parts of the Vanuatu National Heritage. This will open door for dialogue and negotiation between Vanuatu Government and the Government of France on Maritimes boundaries.
Hon. Chair i strongly believed that whilst we embrace emerging development challenges and opportunities, we must not lost sight of the need to get our foundation right at the beginning. I also believe that our political aspiration to settle our maritime boundary, helping other Melanesian countries in their political aspiration, and promoting trade and economic development within our region should be the top priorities of our future leader's summit.
Our group has come long way since its establishment and it has been tested and faced challenges over the years but our solidarity remains. Vanuatu would like to see the MSG take a more active role in putting back to focus our fundamental founding principal of political self-determination of Melanesian peoples while at the same time creating Economic development and opportunities for sub-region. The MSG must play a more consistent and strengthened role in this respect.
We also wish to place on record our sincere appreciation to the Government of Papua New Guinea and the other member countries of the MSG for the support to the Vanuatu Candidate to FFA post as the MSG candidate for his regional post. This reflect the solidarity amongst our member to promote our interest in the region.
Honourable Chair, under your able leadership, i wish us all well during our deliberation this afternoon