France submits proposal on Matthew and Hunter islands dispute

Hunter Island. Photo: Wikipedia/Bela34

Hunter Island. Photo: Wikipedia/Bela34

France has recently submitted a proposal for boundary negotiations with Vanuatu. And it adds that “this comes amid signs of a change in the way a long-running boundary dispute between Vanuatu and New Caledonia is negotiated. Vanuatu’s government is reviewing the new French proposal on boundary negotiations.” However, says Johnny Blades of RNZI, Vanuatu remains tight-lipped about whether this advanced protracted negotiation over the tiny islets of Matthew and Hunter. As we all know the two volcanic islets will increase the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country which wins them.

The provincial elections were considered unfair, claim Opposition politicians because Read the rest of this entry »


Anniversary of Vanuatu’s reclamation of Matthew and Hunter Islands celebrated today

Vanuatu's flag flies over Hunter Island, 9th March 1983. Photo: Bob Makin

Vanuatu’s flag flies over Hunter Island, 1:30pm, 9th March 1983. Photo: Bob Makin

9 March is Matthew and Hunter Day. At 1:30 pm on that day in 1983 the Vanuatu flag was hoisted on Hunter Island, known to the people of Aneityum as Leka, and the national anthem sung as the active volcano was reclaimed for Tafea, Matthew and Hunter being uninhabited remote outliers of the southernmost province.

The two islands had been administered by France from the French Residency, Port Vila, during Condominium times, but as became apparent when the Dunkerquoise threatened to fire on Euphrosyne as the Vanuatu government vessel reached Matthew in 1983, France was determined to hold on to the two outliers as if they belonged to New Caledonia.

But the flag had been raised — on Hunter Island, the previous day.

It was thought a ceremony was to be organized for the day today, but Read the rest of this entry »


Mota Lava agreement demonstrates Melanesian respect for ancestral links—and for each other

33 years in the making: Vanuatu PM Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Sogavare sign the maritime boundary agreement between the two countries on Vanuatu's Mota Lava island, October 7, 2016. Photo: Solomon Islands PM's Press Secretariat

33 years in the making: Vanuatu PM Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Sogavare sign the maritime boundary agreement between the two countries on Mota Lava, October 7, 2016. Photo: Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat, Solomon Islands

The Maritime Border Treaty between the Republic of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, signed on October 7, 2016 at Mota Lava Island in Vanuatu, has sealed the territorial boundaries between the two sovereign states. Prior to the signing, the boundaries had been under negotiations for the past Read the rest of this entry »


Melanesian solidarity scores big win with Vanuatu-Solomon Islands border treaty

PM Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Sogavare at the maritime boundary treaty ceremony in Mota Lava last week. Photo: Solomon Islands Govt

PM Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Sogavare at the maritime boundary treaty ceremony in Mota Lava last week. Photo: Solomon Islands Govt

The efforts to create a Melanesian style border treaty with Solomon Islands are described as historic. “Melanesian solidarity” is certainly visible. Head of State Baldwin Lonsdale was at Motalava for the event and for a Temotu–Torba cultural festival heralding the much greater exchange of goods and ideas expected between the two provinces. Prime Ministers Sogavare and Salwai each led delegations to a natangura faréa where the border document was signed. Solomon Islands PM Sogavare will be assisting Vanuatu with border questions for Vanuatu relative to Fiji and New Caledonia. The ceremony took place with background music of the bamboo bands so common in both Banks and Temotu cultures. Solomon Islanders from the Santa Cruz Group have for a long time sought to come to Vanuatu to work in Luganville where the wages were always greater than in Honiara and the distance needing to be travelled to home shorter. However, it is not yet known if immigration procedures are going to be changed with the new border treaty. (Daily Post) Read the rest of this entry »


An amazing coincidence: earthquake strikes during discussion of disputed maritime boundary

Bathymetry map of Vanuatu and surrounding area. Map: NASA

Bathymetry map of Vanuatu and surrounding area. The line to the west of Vanuatu is where the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates meet. Map: NASA

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