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Qarase - Forum Should Keep To Pacific Way

Forum Should Keep To Pacific Way Of Dialogue And Consensus - Qarase

24th October, 2006

The founders of the Pacific Island Forum based the Forum’s ideals on their own cultural traditions and values and these gave emphasis to listening to, respecting each other and following the Pacific Way of dialogue and consensus.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase made these remarks as he welcomed leaders and their delegates to the 37th Pacific Island Leaders Forum in Nadi today.

He said these ideals were fundamental to assisting Pacific countries in developing close and cordial relationships as well as managing regional affairs.”

Mr Qarase highlighted that in his experience as the Prime Minister of Fiji he has found that the vital ingredient for success in solving differences is indeed the ability to listen and to reach mutual accommodation.”

Mr. Qarase further highlighted that the forum has come far since 1971 and its membership now stands at 16 independent and self governing countries. As the years went by the list of issues affecting the forum and its members have increased.

And therefore member countries need to cooperate because regional cooperation would be incomplete without the participation of all countries.

Mr Qarase added the Forum and its members have truly integrated into the world community given that “forum members have built partnerships with the European Union, in association with the ACP group of developing countries.

In addition, Forum Nations take part in regular summit meetings with heads of government of Japan, France and China.

However, this relationship with the outside world has also brought new challenges to the member countries.

“The reality of the present is that the forum operates in a complex and volatile international environment,”said Mr. Qarase.

"International tensions and conflicts and threats to peace now affect the region because of its relationship with the developed countries."

And member countries must take its cooperation to a higher level as we confront the challenge before us and use our collective wisdom and will make the region into a place of peace and prosperity.

-End-

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