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The Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Regional Cooperation

Nanau, Gordon (2016) The Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Regional Cooperation. Pacific Studies, 39 (3). pp. 282-310. ISSN 0275-3596

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The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is a sub-regional organization in Oceania where friendly diplomatic relations, free trade and cultural and technical exchanges are encouraged. One of its founding principles is to promote the aspirations of Melanesians under colonial servitude to political autonomy. At the same time it is a forum by member states to drive their national interests under the auspices of sub-regional resolutions. Recent developments and decisions by MSG leaders provided profound insights into the affairs of the organisation and its member states. In 2010, the Prime Ministers of Fiji and Vanuatu were at loggerheads over whom to transfer the MSG chairmanship to. Consequently, a political glitch that touched the heart of the organisation surfaced. In 2014, Solomon Islands and Fiji had a dispute over airline routes and conditions. In June 2015, MSG member states were divided over whether to support the West Papuans application for membership or to support Indonesia’s bid to be an associate member of MSG. What ensured in the said Leaders’ Summit in Honiara was controversial. This paper looks at the historical evolution of MSG and developments that took place since inception highlighting the small ‘wars’ of the 1990s and early 2000. External interference, major issues of concern and major shifts in the organization’s outlooks between 2010 and 2015 are also investigated and discussed. The paper partly argues that recent developments could result in long term impacts on future sub-regional and regional initiatives. On the other hand, if properly engineered, positive advances may spring from the current efforts and decisions by the MSG.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Government, Development and International Affairs
Depositing User: Gordon Nanau
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 02:32
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2017 04:20

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