14 Jul 2005

Forum won't say whether Pacific leaders will discuss debt relief at summit

3:10 pm on 14 July 2005

The Pacific Islands Forum can't say if debt forgiveness will be an issue on the table at the forthcoming leaders' summit.

Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tuvalu want regional organisations to persuade big lenders to cancel all the debt they owe, after the G8 group of rich countries agreed a deal with African nations.

The Manager of Economic Growth at the Forum Secretariat, Stan Vandersyp, says they're following up on the calls.

But Mr Vandersyp won't say whether debt will be a key issue at this year's leaders' summit.

"What has to be addressed is the way that the process can be handled, the way that it can be incorporated into the Pacific Plan, it seems quite obvious that one way or the other, the Forum island countries will either want a proposal before them as part of the Pacific Plan, or an answer as to why that hasn't been done."