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PM to attend Pacific Islands Forum next week

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

16 October 2006 Media Statement

PM to attend Pacific Islands Forum next week

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced she will attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Nadi, Fiji, on 24 and 25 October.

"Events in Solomon Islands are expected to be the focus of significant discussion between leaders. In addition to the ongoing role of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI), the expulsion of the Australian High Commissioner from Honiara, Australia's attempt to seek extradition of Julian Moti from Papua New Guinea, and the suspension of ministerial contact between Australia and PNG will form a backdrop to proceedings," Helen Clark said.

"This is also an important meeting for the Forum for other reasons, including the review of the first year of the Pacific Plan and talks around a possible overhaul of the region’s institutional structures.

"Forum Leaders will consider recommendations from a Review Team that considered both a streamlining of the regional institutional architecture, and new ways of engaging with partners at the Post Forum Dialogue (PFD).

"This is the Forum’s principal means of engagement with its major external partners such as the EU, France, the UK and the US.

“The Forum has never needed those Partners more - so we need to strengthen the current dialogue in ways which more fully acknowledge their role and contributions.”

"United States Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill has been invited to this year’s Forum and will meet Leaders at a special session.

“I also expect a good discussion about the regional trade agenda at the Forum, and how to continue setting the scene for the start of a Pacific Closer Economic Relations (PACER) agreement negotiation in a couple of year’s time,” Helen Clark said.

"Pacific leaders will also consider applications for associate membership of the Forum from New Caledonia and French Polynesia, and observer applications from Wallis & Futuna, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

ENDS

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