17 February 2013

New Caledonia FLNKS opens office at Melanesian Spearhead Group Office Headquarters

Vanuatu Daily Post
FLNKS delegation members grateful for realization of goal

PORT VILA, Vanuatu – Members of the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak Socialiste (FLNKS) Political Bureau of New Caledonia, the Kanak Community from Vanuatu and New Caledonia and the staff of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat witnessed the official Opening of the FLNKS Unit at the MSG Secretariat headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu by the Spokesperson of the FLNKS to the MSG, Mr. Victor Tutugoro and the Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Mr. Peter Forau last Tuesday.

Mr. Forau explained among other functions this Unit will allow the MSG Secretariat to provide policy advice on political developments in Kanaky/New Caledonia; monitor the implementation of the Noumea Accord; liaise with the FLNKS Political Bureau on MSG issues; coordinate and manage MSG constituent body meetings on FLNKS matters; manage high level technical and Ministerial Missions to New Caledonia; and network with member governments in developing work programs and other activities requiring participation by FLNKS officials.

It will also pave the way for some Kanaks to participate in the secondment program at the Secretariat and in member countries.

In response, the FLNKS representatives with great emotion expressed joy and happiness over the realization of the having a unit within the MSG Secretariat specifically to further work towards the full emancipation of the Kanak people.

Mr. Roch Wamytan, 1st Vice President of the Congress of New Caledonia who witnessed the unveiling of the new office at the MSG Secretariat stated that this gesture by the Leaders and the MSG Secretariat demonstrates the support by our MSG member countries and Secretariat.

"This is a test of our historical link and solidarity of our Melanesia and we thank the Leaders of the MSG and the Secretariat on behalf of the Kanak people," said Mr. Wamytan.

MSG DG Forau hailed the opening of the FLNKS unit a proud moment for Leaders and the membership of the MSG as the grouping continues to show its continuous partnership with the FLNKS.

He said the history of FLNKS joining MSG began with the formation of the organization which was established for the sole purpose of helping the Kanaks in their quest for political emancipation.

Consequently, the FLNKS joined the MSG. The second major development for FLNKS was when the MSG Secretariat recruited two Kanaks to work at the Secretariat, Mr. Jimmy Naouna and Ms. Rose Wete.

The Unit is manned by the FLNKS Political Officer, Mr. Naouna and located within the Governance and Sustainable Development Division of the Secretariat.

The MSG DG said the third major development for the MSG membership and FLNKS was through the raising of the FLNKS flags at all MSG Capitals at all MSG Leaders’ Summit, Foreign Ministers Meetings (FMM) and Senior Officials Meetings (SOM).

He said this visibility by the members of the MSG reflects the determination and support the members have for the full emancipation of the Kanak people, adding the formal opening of the Unit follows a decision by the MSG Special Leaders’ Summit in August 2012 to formally establish the Unit which was set up immediately in September 2012.

The FLNKS Unit is fully funded by contributions from member countries including additional assistance by the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) currently being finalized by the Secretariat and the PNG Government. The assistance will include AU$300,000 [US$312,300] for the Unit as well as provision of scholarships for young Kanaks to study in PNG; job attachments for Kanaks in the PNG Public Service and training for Kanaks in the PNG Public Service and Mining Sector.

The immediate priority for the Unit is to organize a joint United Nations/MSG Officials Mission to New Caledonia in 2013 and through the Government of New Caledonia, facilitating a meeting with UN Regional agencies based in the region.