FSM President Mori Completes Pacific Island Forum in Tonga
Nuku'alofa, Tonga (Office of the FSM President): October 19, 2007 - Friday, October 19th is the last day of the Pacific Island Forum in Tonga, and for FSM President Manny Mori and his delegation, the day will officially end after completion of their bi-lateral discussion with representatives of the Government of Italy at 5:30 p.m. Tonga time (2 hours ahead of Pohnpei time, FSM).
The official Forum events actually started on Monday, October 15th with Pre-Forum meetings for the Small Island States Leaders Summit and the Pacific Leaders from the (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group). The ACP discussion included briefing of leaders on outcomes of the Pacific ACP Trade Ministers meeting and on the Pacific Region's negotiation for Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, which agreement will try to ease up trade restrictions between European Union and Pacific Island countries.
The Forum was formally opened on Tuesday, October 16th by the King of Tonga, His Majesty, King George Tupou V, during an opening ceremony that took Pacific Island cultural hospitality to new heights. The streets were lined with school children cheering their Pacific Leaders guests. Each island head of state or government was brought onto the ceremony grounds in separate motorcades flying his or her national color. Displaying true Polynesian brotherhood and solidarity, the people of Tonga gave a loud and sustained cheer for the Interim Prime Minister of Fiji-the loudest cheer of the ceremony second to that given for the King. The opening ceremonies took up the whole morning.
The Forum Plenary session took up the whole afternoon.
Wednesday and Thursday were typically active days of the Forum. Early Wednesday morning, the heads of state and governments and their foreign ministers departed for a Retreat Meeting on the northern island of Vava'u to discuss issues like ongoing problems in the Solomons Islands and the political transition in Fiji. For the FSM Delegation, while President Mori and Secretary Robert attended the Vava'u Retreat, Chief of Staff Asor, Economic Affairs Consultant, Roger Mori, and Foreign Affairs Assistant Chief for Pacific Affairs, Ricky Cantero, stayed behind on Tonga to represent the FSM in consultation meetings with partners and observers like the Asian Development Bank.
On Thursday morning, the full Delegation attended the Post Forum Dialogue session where delegations discussed major regional issues like Climate Change, Forum Fisheries, and Health issues. The Post Forum Dialogues were also attended by partners and observers (like the governments of Canada, United Kingdom, Thailand, France, the United States, the People's Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of South Korea, the European Union) all joined in with pledges of how to cooperate with the Pacific Region on addressing issues and pledged their support for the resolution of problems like regional fisheries restrictions and global warming effects.
Thursday afternoon, President Mori directed Secretary Robert to meet with the European Union to accept the EDF#10 for the $10 million EU grant to the FSM. Meantime, the rest of the Delegation was revising and updating the President's talking points for the Consultation meeting with the American Delegation also scheduled for that afternoon. The American Delegation was headed by US Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Christopher Hill (current US negotiator on the North Korean Nuclear issue), and consisted of Mr. Steve McGann also of the Joint Compact Management Committee (JEMCO) and current US Ambassador to Fiji (and former US Ambassador to the FSM), Mr. Larry Dinger and a large staff contingent. President Mori congratulated Mr. Hill and wished him success on his North Korea assignment and urged the US Delegation to help advice their US Government to be patient and supportive of FSM's reform and development efforts.
Friday morning, the FSM Delegation and other Pacific Island delegations were hosted to breakfast by the Delegation of the People's Republic of China (PRC). After breakfast, the FSM Delegation again split up: one group consisting of Chief of Staff Asor, Consultant Roger Mori and Trade Advisor Gainmore represented the FSM at the 9 a.m. EU Trade Consultation meeting while President Mori, Secretary Robert and Assistant Chief Cantero had another consultation meeting with representatives of the PRC. The FSM-PRC meeting was followed at 11 a.m. by a FSM-Japan Consultation meeting in which Chief of Staff Asor also joined. During both the meetings with China and Japan, President Mori again discussed his reform and development plans and invited increasing Chinese and Japanese assistance to his plans. After lunch, President Mori had a visit with former Pacific Island development banks colleagues and the Delegation is getting ready for the 5 p.m. Consultation with representatives from the Government of Italy.
President Mori and his delegation are scheduled to leave Tonga early Saturday morning for Honolulu via a one-day layover in Fiji.
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 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.fsmpio.fm/