IN marking the Melanesian Spearhead Group's (MSG) 25th anniversary on Monday, chief guest Sir Michael Somare said the issue of nuclear testing in the Pacific had dropped off the MSG's original agenda.
This was the result of successful lobbying by the MSG, among others, who pushed for the regulation of emplacement in and transshipment of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in the Pacific.
"By and large, this is due to the fact that nuclear powers have recognised our concerns over these issues and have conducted themselves in ways that respect our wishes and interests," Sir Michael said.
Sir Michael said this positive feedback was the result of MSG's persistence at local and global fronts.
"Our persistent criticisms of nuclear powers' scant regard for our peoples' health and safety in their nuclear development programs helped galvanise international support for the cessation of nuclear testing in the Pacific," he said.
He said that also resulted in the adoption and acceptance of a Pacific nuclear free zone under the treaty of Rarotonga.
Although this was the case, he said MSG would also consider the possibility of compensating states in the event of accidents involving nuclear waste from vessels.
"MSG would be well advised to keep a watching brief over efforts to establish appropriate compensatory facilities for coastal states in the event of accidents involving nuclear powered vessels or during transshipment of nuclear material through our waters," Sir Michael concluded.