Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
7th July 2011, Suva: Deputy Secretary (Political & Treaties) Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Mr. Sila Balawa attended the inaugural Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Regional Workshops on Extradition Arrangements, Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in MSG Member Countries, and Custody & Maintenance of Children between MSG members that was held in Port Vila, Vanuatu from 4-6 July 2011. He was accompanied by Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Mr. Peni Suveinakama.
The purpose of the first workshop on Extradition Arrangements was to enable experts to discuss ways to develop a framework for extradition arrangements between MSG member countries. The workshop was officially opened on Monday 4 July by the MSG Director General, Mr. Rima Ravusiro. Participants were from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu
Earlier in the week Fiji also participated in a Trade and Economic Officials Meeting [TEOM] which was also held in Port Vila, Vanuatu on the 29th and 30th June 2011. The purpose of the workshop was to enable trade and economic officials from MSG member countries the opportunity to discuss key trade and economic issues affecting the region. TEOM is an important institution in the MSG decision-making process and is the main policy adviser to the MSG Senior Officials, Foreign Ministers and Leaders on the issues of trade and economics.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Viliame Naupoto, Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests and the Fiji delegation included Mr. Jitoko Tikolevu, CEO FRCA, Mr. Krishna Prasad, Deputy Secretary Strategic Planning and six senior officials from Strategic Planning, Finance, Fisheries, Industry and Trade, FRCA including Ms. Amalaini T. Kuruvakadua Principal Assistant Secretary (Economics) Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The meeting agenda mainly focused on the MSG Trade Agreement Study, Implementation and Review with presentations from the respective Sub Committees on Customs and Quarantine, Services and Fisheries in an effort to harmonize the existing trade practices and requirements to accelerate the Trade Agreement implementation process in all member countries.
Participants were also enlightened by the Sub Committee on Economic and Social Development on the economic and structural reform experiences in member countries, the impact of deep sea mining, the role of shipping and aviation in MSG trade and economic integration and water and sanitation status in Melanesia.
The Fiji delegation was excused from the session on PACER Plus after efforts to remove the item from the Agenda was unsuccessful due to the support from the other member countries. The Director General for the MSG chaired the session after the Chairman also opted to stay out.
The Outcomes of the meeting will be presented to the MSG Senior Officials Meeting [SOM] in August for its consideration before it can be further discussed at the Foreign Minister's Meeting and the next Leaders' Summit for a decision.
(Photo caption: Mr Balawa with Regional Workshops on Extradition participants)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji