New Year’s messages call on people of Vanuatu to play active role in nation’s prosperity

In his New Year message, President Baldwin Lonsdale has spoken of the God-given challenges Vanuatu faces at this time. He feels that the fresh elections last year were necessary to bring Vanuatu a new, more youthful and better educated leadership. They were needed to ensure the economic prosperity not possible because of the political instability of previous years. (Radio Vanuatu)

For his New Year address to the people of the Republic, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai concentrated on the new blueprint the country had been offered for a sustainable prosperity with his Government’s adoption of Read the rest of this entry »

Australia announces new High Commissioner to Vanuatu

Australia's newly-appointed Head of Mission in Vanuatu, Jenny Da Rin. Photo: GPE/Creative Commons

Australia’s newly-appointed High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Jenny Da Rin. Photo: GPE/Creative Commons

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced the appointment of Ms Jenny Da Rin as the new Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu.

As a former Assistant Director General of the Australia Government’s now defunct international development agency, AusAID, the development challenges Vanuatu faces will be familiar territory for Ms Da Rin. AusAID was merged with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2013.

Ms. Da Rin will be responsible for managing Australia’s bilateral relationship with Vanuatu, which is substantial. Australia provides more than 50% of tourists to Vanuatu, and in 2015, Australian businesses invested Vt8.9 billion in the country. Australia is also Vanuatu’s largest bilateral donor, contributing Vt4.85 billion in development assistance during the last financial year. Australia also gave just under Vt4 billion in recovery assistance after Cyclone Pam devastated the country in 2015.

Ms Da Rin replaces the outgoing High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer, and will be taking up her post as head of mission in Port Vila in January 2017.

Easier travel between Vanuatu and Russia as visa waiver agreement comes into effect

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Bruno Leingkone and Russia's Foreign Minister conclude the visa waiver agreement in New York earlier this week. Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in Australia

Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Bruno Leingkone and Russia’s Foreign Minister conclude the visa waiver agreement in New York in September this year. Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in Australia

Read the rest of this entry »

Making its own way: Vanuatu in the world [book review]

Pacific Ways

Vanuatu last week signalled its support for China’s position on the South China Sea territorial dispute, a move described in overseas media as “predictable” and a “classic Vanuatu” diplomatic move. Likewise, PM Salwai’s recent calls for procedural integrity in the selection of a new Director-General for the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat and Vanuatu’s long-standing defiance of Indonesia over West Papua together portray a distinctive approach to political affairs. Vanuatu’s political style is one of many documented by Victoria University Press’s new edition of Pacific Ways: Government and Politics in the Pacific Islands. Read the rest of this entry »

Bilingual education to be trialled; Compulsory blood tests for all MPs; New Chinese Ambassador

Minister for Education Jean-Pierre Nirua. Photo: Vanuatu Govt

Minister for Education Jean-Pierre Nirua. Photo: Vanuatu Govt

Read the rest of this entry »

Vanuatu loses vote at UN General Assembly – for the second year in a row

United Nations logoIn a major embarrassment for the country, Vanuatu has had its vote at the United Nations General Assembly taken away because of non-payment of its yearly contribution. This is at least the second year in a row that this has occurred, according to UN documents.

No vote means no voice on the UN General Assembly, the UN’s ‘parliament’ in New York, USA where all 193 member states have equal representation. No pay, no play.

Without a vote, Vanuatu will be unable to take part in  Read the rest of this entry »

Vanuatu’s farcical diplomacy on Abhkazia: a refresher [Global Intelligence Files]

From Wikileak’s Global Intelligence Files, an archive of emails hacked from US “global intelligence” company Stratfor by hacker collective Anonymous, comes this article from Russian english-language newspaper the Moscow Times. It provides a useful summary of Vanuatu’s diplomatic blundering over the recognition of Abhkazia in 2011, which made Vanuatu an international joke, thanks to the chequebook diplomacy and underhanded dealings of Juris Gulbis (yet another bloody Saken!), ‘Mme. 15%’ Thi Tham Goiset and Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot.
Moscow Times
June 8, 2011

A New State’s Guide to Gaining International Recognition

By Nikolaus von Twickel

It’s not easy gaining recognition as an independent country.

Abkhazia, a sliver of Black Sea land recognized as sovereign by no one but Russia
and three other countries, created a stir last week when it announced that it had
convinced a fifth UN member country, the Pacific nation of Vanuatu, to recognize
its independence from Georgia.

But then the UN ambassador of Vanuatu home to more than 80 volcanic islands, 113
indigenous languages and tribal bungee jumping denied the claim and insisted
that his government was dealing with Georgia instead.

Read the rest of this entry »