Indonesia Acquires Associate Member Status In Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)


Honiara – The 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Summit (KTT) in Honiara, Solomon Islands, from 24 to 26 June 2015 has raised Indonesia’s status from observer to associate member. Earlier, Indonesia became an observer at the 18th MSG Summit in Fiji, on March 2011.

"As an associate member, Indonesia is committed to continue promoting close and concrete cooperation with the MSG to uncover potentials and overcome development challenges together," said the Indonesian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, AM Fachir.

Raising the status of Indonesia in the MSG is an effort to tighten cooperation with countries in the Pacific. In addition to its strategic geographical location adjacent to the Pacific region, Indonesia is home to 11 million Melanesian communities that are in the 5 provinces of Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara.

Indonesia’s focus towards the Pacific region is also reflected by the President’s visit to PNG in May and the visits of the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs to PNG, Solomon Island and Fiji as the first working visits made after taking office as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Indonesia and MSG countries face the same development challenges such as vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change that must be faced together. As an associate member of the MSG, Indonesia would be able to cooperate more closely in meeting the challenges of development for island nations.

Improving the status of Indonesia in MSG would also enhance concrete cooperation with member states of the MSG. Indonesia’s trade value with MSG countries that is currently at US $ 260 million could be increased again.

In addition, technical cooperation in various fields that have been running such as in the field of fisheries, handicraft making, arts and culture, and diplomacy would also continue to be tightened. Up until May 2015, Indonesia has conducted technical cooperation for capacity building with MSG member states with as many as 130 programs attended by 583 participants.

In addition to attending the conference, The Vice Foreign Minister of Indonesia also held a variety of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of those meetings, among others, with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Fiji, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea, Foreign Minister of Solomon Islands, as well as officials of Vanuatu as a concrete approach effort regarding the implementation of cooperation in the context of the next MSG.

MSG is an organization consisting of countries that are of Melanesian cultural background, namely Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the FLNKS of New Caledonia. MSG aims to promote and strengthen trade relations between members, exchange of Melanesian cultures, as well as technical cooperation in order to achieve economic growth, continuous development, good governance, and security.

MSG member countries are planned to participate in the Melanesian Cultural Festival which will be held in East Nusa Tenggara Province this October.

(Source: Dit. KSI Asia Pacific and Africa / BAM)

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