21 Mar 2005

Pacific leaders core group to meet over Pacific Plan this week in Auckland

8:09 pm on 21 March 2005

The Group of Pacific leaders charged with overseeing the development of the Pacific Plan on greater co-operation meet in Auckland for the first time on wednesday.

The first draft of the plan is now circulating throughout the region for public discussion and input, with talks in New Zealand beginning tomorrow.

The core group of leaders are the past, present and future chairs of the Pacific Islands Forum - that is New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

As well Marshall Islands President, Kessai Note, will be there and New Zealand Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, says he's an important addition.

"He represents the smaller states, the micro states in the region. Its important to have the triumvirate plus to ensure there is representation from the small island states in the Pacific so their voice can be heard and their commitment can be secured for the initiatives to be agreed upon."