Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

President Urusemal participates in first Forum

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (FSM Information Service): August 15, 2003 - President Joseph J. Urusemal heads the delegation from the Federated States of Micronesia to the 34th Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland New Zealand from August 12 - 19 2003.

The 34th Pacific Islands Forum meeting is the first for the President is his new capacity. The Forum, as it is commonly referred to, is an annual high-level assemblage of the heads of states and heads of governments of the Pacific island member countries.

This assembly provides the needed forum for the Pacific leaders to discuss issues of common concern and develop collective responses to such concerns. These issues include regional development platforms, economic and political issues and security issues, along with each member's issues of national concerns.

In addition to the major regional issues, high on this year's agenda is selection of the next Secretary General for the Pacific Islands Forum. The Secretary General (SG) is the head of the Forum's administrative arm, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. The Secretariat coordinates all Forum-related events and implements decisions by the Leaders or the heads of the 16-member states.

Current Secretary General Noel Levy will complete his tenure in December 2003. Therefore the 34th Pacific Islands Forum needs to agree on the candidate to hold the post. It has been the practice to rotate the Post among the three Pacific Blocs: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia.

These 16-member independent and self-governing states in the Pacific include: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Leaders of the 16-member states at this year's Forum in Auckland include:

Australia - Prime Minister John Howard;
Cook Islands - Prime Minister Dr. Robert Woonton;
FSM - President Joseph J. Urusemal;
Fiji - Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase;
Kiribati - President Anote Tong;
Nauru - President Renee Harris;
Niue - Prime Minister Young M. Vivian;
Palau - President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.;
Papua New Guinea - Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare;
Marshall Islands - President Kessai Note;
Samoa - Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi;
Solomon Islands - Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza;
Tonga - Prime Minister Ulukalala Lavaka Ata;
Tuvalu - Prime Minister Saufatu Sapoanga.

President Urusemal and his delegation are scheduled to return to Pohnpei next week after the closing of the 34th Pacific Islands Forum.

Accompanying the President to this year's Forum are: Sebstian Anefal - Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Lorin Robert - Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Kodaro M. Gallen - FSM Representative to the South Pacific Region; Roger S. Mori - Trade Investment Advisor, Department of Economic Affairs; Ricky S. Cantero - Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Lynn Narruhn - Special Assistant to the President on Information.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356