NZ says leaders' summit to make key decisions
New Zealand Foreign Minister lays out some of the key matters before leaders at this year's Pacific Islands Forum summit.
New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister says this year's Pacific leaders' summit will include high-level discussions over the future of the Pacific Plan and how it can be made more effective.
Murray McCully is in Palau for the 45th Pacific Islands Leaders Forum, which is being held in the capital of Koror this week.
Mr McCully told Amelia Langford the summit is particularly important this year.
MURRAY McCULLY: "This is a very important meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum for two reasons. Firstly it is going to select a new secretary general and I understand there are currently five nominees for that position - three from Melanesia, two from Micronesia. Quite how that will play out over the next few days is unpredictable. There will be no doubt some back room discussions that may see that field of candidates changed as is often the case. We have taken a back seat role in this process. I think that is appropriate and we will see where those discussions go, but I do want to emphasise the importance of the role. There is a very important period. We go into the Small Islands Developing States conference later this year and there will be no doubt some strategic issues there that need leadership from the region and particularly the secretary general of the region. The second reason is that we are going to pick up the issue of the Pacific Plan at this conference. We had interim meeting of leaders which I attended on behalf of Prime Minister Key to make some progress but we have yet to land the final document but it is fair to say that the Pacific Plan is a process that has been useful in terms of expressing aspirations but hasn't actually resulted in a lot of concrete actions, and there is a resolve among the leaders to try and change that around. I think they have decided that if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. So have got to have a better way of identifying what our real priorities are and there is a mechanism proposed by the working group in that respect, which we will talk about no doubt in the retreat. But I just want to signal again strong interest in that. It is a regional mechanism that could do a lot of good for the Pacific and it is important that we get that proper attention and get good results that carry the region behind it."
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