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It’s always good to start at ground zero when assessing and devising ways to assist the growth of the Pacific Islands

(Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 09/09/2016)

President of the Federated States of Micronesia(FSM), His Excellency Peter Christian made the statement in his remarks during the official opening of the 47th Pacific Leaders’ meeting yesterday in Pohnpei.

Tonga’s Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilisi Pōhiva and members of the Pacific Leaders’ Forum yesterday welcomed to Pohnpei – Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) by Chiefs of its 4 States, the Governor of Pohnpei Marcelo Peterson and President Peter Christian during the official opening of the 47th Pacific Leaders’ Meeting.

In his remarks, the incoming chair and President of FSM – Peter Christian told Leaders from the region his wish with the people of FSM that Leaders and their delegation enjoy their staying on the island as they were busy preparing for their
arrival with their limited resources but they had done their best to make everyone comfortable during their time in Pohnpei.

He went on to say that the gathering may have heard him saying that he do not want the Post Forum Dialogue happen in FSM but he wished to raise his reason for it. He said it’s involved he believes that member leaders must have amble time
to sit among themselves and by themselves, and ponder the challenges face by each of them and they collectively find solutions before brought to dialogue partners.

His other reasons – he believes that it’s always good to start at ground zero when assessing and devising ways to assist islands growth and he do not believe in long distance assistance as he believes in face to face assistance. But
he welcomed all dialogue partners in Pohnpei.

The incoming Chair of Forum thanked the outgoing Chair, Prime Minister Peter Oneil of Papua New Guinea for the hard work and the achievements of the Pacific Islands Countries during his term as Chair and for the footprints from Oneil and his predecessors for him to follow.

During the occasion, the outgoing Chair, Oneil said in his remarks that the past year has been a very busy time for the Pacific Islands Forum group of nations.

He said, Forum member countries have to make commitment to regionalism with the Framework for Pacific Regionalism that they adopted in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, last year as it helps in-terms of addressing challenges of being small and far island nations.

Oneil said the past year has seen much work put into concluding trade deals such as PACER Plus and this will be finalized shortly. He said member countries may aware that Papua New Guinea will not be a part of that arrangement and their decision has come about after a careful analysis and consideration. He stated that considering the size and structure of their economy it would see a net loss PNG through PACER PLUS. But he said he knows very well that PACER PLUS will be a strong bonus to many of the economies in the region. It will help to further improve the lives of people in many Pacific island communities and that is why it is important that we must conclude this arrangement as soon as possible.

Meanwhile the Pacific ACP (PACP) Leaders and their representatives yesterday reaffirmed the importance of convening the PACP Officials Meeting and PACP Leaders Meeting, and the opportunity to convene these meetings in the margins
of the Forum Meetings, as appropriate.

As Chair of the meeting, Foreign Minister of PNG said during a press conference after their discussions, Leaders also directed all implementing agencies to provide PACPS quarterly updates on the progress of the PRIP through the Forum

Among the outcomes of the Pacific ACP Leaders meeting yesterday, leaders reaffirmed the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s continued role in supporting Members in their trade, economic reforms and governance, and private sector
work through the PRIP, including support for sub-regional initiatives through agencies such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, and the Micronesian Trade and Economic Committee.

Leaders are having their Plenary Formal session today and they involved Tonga’s Prime Minister – Hon. ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, Prime Minister of Australia – Malcom Turnbull and Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.


© Radio & TV Tonga News 2016