8 Apr 2004

Fiji PM says Forum revamp noticeable in one year

4:11 pm on 8 April 2004

Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he thinks it will take a little over a year for signs of the revamping of the Pacific Islands Forum to become apparent.

Pacific leaders this week released their Vision for the region and its Pacific Plan for refocussing the activities of the Forum.

The Plan is aimed at creating a stronger and deeper links across the Pacific, but so far the leaders have only given general guidelines of what they want to achieve.

The next major step is the establishment of a Task Force whose job it will be to work out how the principles of the Plan can be implemented.

Mr Qarase says the membership and terms of reference for the Task Force are to be submitted at this year's leaders summit in Apia, but there is already good momentum in the process.

"I think preparation of the plan itself will take maybe six months, that will take us into early 2005 and I think by the middle of that year when the Forum meets we should see the Plan prepared and submitted for consideration by the leaders."