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NZ to host Pacific security meetings

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

9 June 2005

NZ to host Pacific security meetings

New Zealand will host a number of meetings on Pacific security next week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff announced today.

Senior law enforcement and policy officials from around the Pacific will meet in Auckland on 14 and 15 June for the Pacific Island Forum’s annual Regional Security Committee meeting.

This will be preceded on 13 June by an inaugural Half-Day Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which will focus on discussing progress and challenges faced by Pacific Island countries in meeting international, regional and bilateral counter-terrorism obligations.

The Forum Regional Security Committee will discuss ways to deepen regional cooperation on law enforcement, customs, immigration and transport security.

Officials will also assess broader security issues affecting the Pacific, and will discuss current regional cooperation initiatives including progress in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

The committee will report to Pacific Island Forum Leaders when they gather for their annual summit meeting, to be held in Papua New Guinea in October.

In a related meeting on 17 and 18 June, Pacific officials will discuss counter-terrorism cooperation and contingency planning priorities. This meeting is the first part of a two-phased initiative that will culminate in a regional counter-terrorism tabletop exercise in Fiji later this year.

“The Pacific faces numerous security challenges, from internal instability to external threats such as trans-national crime, and the difficulties of complying with international counter-terrorism standards," Mr Goff said.

"We need to look at security issues broadly, including the impacts on security of poverty and isolation. These issues are not just for each country to deal with; they need to be addressed collectively by all countries of the Pacific region.

“Unfortunately, terrorism is a global reality. While some will not see it as a priority for the Pacific, Forum Leaders have committed to complying with the international counter-terrorism requirements, and to working together to strengthen the region’s security and counter-terrorism infrastructure.

“This initiative arose as a recommendation made by a roundtable on counter-terrorism attended by all Pacific Forum members last year, and is further evidence of the region’s desire to work together to bolster our counter-terrorism capability,” Mr Goff said.

New Zealand has established a Pacific Security Fund to help New Zealand Government agencies work with Pacific counterparts to address a wide range of security challenges.


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