The Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has praised European Union assistance in the Pacific, ahead of the signing regional development agreements.
Iosefa Maiava was speaking before a visit to the Secretariat by EU commissioner Paul Nielsen.
They will both sign financing agreements tomorrow(sat) for four regional projects, including a major regional economic integration project for the 14 Pacific ACP states.
Mr Maiava says the strategic partnership with the EU continues to strengthen which is a further sign of the close ties between Europe and the Pacific on development issues.
He thanked Mr Nielsen for his role in helping to greatly speed up EU decisions on financing which, in the past, had sometimes led to lengthy delays.
Mr Maiava says it helps that projects are better designed now because of the wider consultation with regional agencies and other stakeholders such as civil society.
Under the new Cotonou Agreement, new funding under the European Development Fund will raise the total allocation since 1975 to 243 million US dollars by 2007.
This does not include the EU's extensive assistance for national projects.