Australia joins Pacific Islands Forum meeting to discuss Pacific Plan Review

Australia Network News:

Monday, 05 May 2014

Australia's parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brett Mason will meet with Pacific leaders in Cook Islands to discuss how the region can work together more effectively.

Senator Mason will represent Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders Retreat on May 5, which will assess recommendations made by the 2013 Pacific Plan Review.

Former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, who led the review, has called for a renewed focus on the initial aims of the 2005 Pacific Plan.

The Plan called for greater co-operation between nations to deal with social, economic and environmental challenges in the Pacific.

"Australia strongly endorses the Pacific Plan as a framework for advancing Pacific regionalism," Senator Mason said in a statement.

"The Review report is a thoughtful and analytical piece of work which, if implemented, should contribute to improving regional dialogue and decision making.

During his trip, Senator Mason will meet with Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

Regional visit

Senator Mason will also visit Auckland on May 6 and 7 to meet with the chairman of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, a charitable trust which works to improve relationships between New Zealand and Pacific countries.

He will also travel to Samoa, where he will visit education, agriculture and infrastructure projects funded by the Australian government, including reconstruction projects for those affected by Cyclone Evan in December 2012.

Senator Mason will hold talks with Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, and discuss the country's preparations for the United Nations Small Islands Developing States Conference to be held in Apia in September.

Read story: Australia Network News

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