PNG pledges support on climate change, conservation

APIA, (POST COURIER) – Papua New Guinea supports the decision at the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers meeting for the “Blue Pacific” countries to collectively put forward their positions on climate change, ocean conservation, security, and economic development.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Rimbink Pato, said he endorsed Pacific regionalism as expressed in the “Blue Pacific” identity.

“I also congratulate Nauru for its theme for the forthcoming Leaders’ meetings: ‘Building a Strong Pacific: Our People, Our Islands, Our Will’,” Pato said.

“This theme emphasises the determination of the Blue Pacific countries to act together to protect the Pacific Ocean, which is a priceless treasure for all humanity, and to work for the economic and social development of our peoples.”

Pato said Pacific regionalism was at the heart of the agenda of the ministerial meeting last Friday.

“As well as climate change, security and economic development we tackled other important issues such as fisheries surveillance, maritime boundaries, and connectivity, and recommended a draft declaration on security for the leaders’ consideration and endorsement in Nauru,” he said.

Pato said PNG endorsed the move to commend to the leaders that Wallis and Futuna be admitted as associate member of PIF.

He said the meeting noted the initiative of PNG as chair of APEC 2018 to arrange an informal dialogue between Pacific Islands leaders and APEC leaders on the margins of the November summit, noting that Australia and New Zealand would be invited as APEC members.

“I also made sure at the meeting to express gratitude to Australia for its generous assistance for aircraft surveillance and maritime boundaries, and for the longstanding security assistance provided by Australia and New Zealand.”

Pato said the ministers recognised that the PIF ministerial meeting was well chaired by Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, with the help of PIF Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor.

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