23 Mar 2005

Attitude to sovereignty a key to development of regionalism in the Pacific - Forum chair

12:51 pm on 23 March 2005

The chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, says the future of regionalism in the Pacific depends on the attitude taken to national sovereignty.

Last night in Wellington Tuilaepa delivered the Pacific Co-operation Foundation's annual lecture, and spoke on the benefits of regionalism for the Pacific.

In his speech he said that he didn't expect that nationhood would disappear under the move to regionalism embodied in the Pacific Plan.

But he pointed out that no country can remain isolated in a world where globalisation is the trend.

"Every time we join an international agreement or a grouping of nations..we agree to give up a little bit of our sovereignty not only for the common good but for our needs as a government and a nation. We should never complain about losing sovereignty if we do it willingly in order to gain something in return."

Tuilaepa will be joined by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, PNG's Sir Michael Somare and Kessai Note, the President of Marshall Islands in Auckland today to assess the progress of the Pacific Plan.