Turkey-Pacific Island States Conference in Istanbul, Turkey
Palikir, POHNPEI (Department of Foreign Affairs): April 29, 2008 - Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey T.H. Ali Babacan invited the Foreign Ministers of Pacific Island States to a conference in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkey-Pacific Island States Conference started on 9th April and ended on the 11th of April 2008. The Pacific countries represented in this conference were the Ministers and Heads of Delegations of Australia, Republic of Fiji, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, New Zealand, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Nauru, Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Independent State of Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Republic of Vanuatu and a representative of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Head of Delegation of each country were invited to a reception by the President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E Abdulla GUL.
In his opening statement, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan stresses that Turkey wishes to promote and deepen friendship and cooperation between Turkey and the Pacific Island States, as part of its general policy to broaden its diplomatic engagement in the world. Toward that end, the conference in Istanbul is but just the beginning of a sustained relationship that Turkey wishes to establish with the members of the Pacific Islands Forum. Turkey wishes to become a dialogue partner of the Forum. The Minister mentions that as the 17th largest economy in the world, Turkey provides about one billion US dollars in Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) annually.
The Government of Turkey allocates a fund of 5 million US Dollars specifically for the Pacific Island States, which is designed for the implementation of small and medium scale development projects through the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA). The President of TIKA, Mr. Musa Kulaklikaya, announced that Turkey has allocated $15 million for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. Turkey provided $50,000.00 to the FSM for the Micronesian Challenge.
In his bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert commended Turkey's role in world's affairs, as a bridge builder between continents countries, and peoples, reflecting Turkey's strategic diplomacy being itself the geographic bridge between Europe and Asia. Mr. Robert also reiterates FSM support for Turkey's candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the Security Council for the period 2009-2010, and that FSM Government will work with the Forum Task Force to promote Turkey's interest in becoming a Forum Dialogue Partner. Secretary Robert met with Mr Babacan in a bilateral meeting on the side of the conference, during which they discussed matters of mutual interests, including establishment of trade, and appointment of honorary consul. Mr Robert also seeks Turkey's support for a model water management and distribution project.
The Pacific Island States participants visited sites in Istanbul, including the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Museum, Blue Mosque, Esma Sultan Mansion and Dolmabache Palace.
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