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PM Lilo highlight revelance of MSG principles
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says the six Principles of Cooperation signed during the formal establishment of the Melanesian Spearhead group in 1988 is just as relevant today as it was more than two decades ago.
Speaking as the guest of honour during the MSG Silver Jubilee Celebration in Honiara this week, PM Lilo urged all five member countries to continue to abide by these principles.
Prime Minister Lilo said high on the list of these principles is the promotion of Melanesian heritage with its unique cultures, traditions and values among others.
"Secondly, friendly relations with each other and the other international organisations like the Pacific Islands Forum and the United Nations. Thirdly, the need for networking and free interactions among Melanesian Spearhead group members. Fourthly, promote respect for each others' sovereignty. Fifthly, promotion of economic and technical cooperation and lastly, maintain peace and harmony in the region."
He said given the geopolitical nature of the region and shifting patterns in the arena, it is urgent today than ever before that members observe these founding principles.
He said solidarity of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, will continue to be tested.
But PM Lilo assured the the group's strength does not rest solely on arrangements such as trade, but on how it sustainably manage the diversity of its people and environment.
On the challenges facing the Melanesian block, Prime Minister Lilo said the MSG is a moderately young, blossoming institution that will continue to grow.
He said it will continue to address traditional and new challenges as it grows stronger and mature.
PM Lilo said as solidarity will be put to test time and time again, members must know that these are normal dynamics in the process of change.
A former Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Ezekiel Alebua says the Melanesian Spearhead Group is about people and countries, and not about race.
"It is about people and country and a region. Remember there are Polynesians, Micronesians, Asians, Chinese, white people or whatever colour, but we are all in the Melanesian region, so it’s nothing to do with the Melanesian race, its about the region and the needs and aspirations of that region."
Alebua, one of the founding fathers of MSG during his political career said the last 25 years was challenging, especially with West Papua and New Caledonia's push for independence.
A minute silence was observed to remember the founding fathers of MSG who had passed on in the last 25 years.
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