28 Apr 2005

Pacific Plan consultations reach Marshall Islands

2:36 pm on 28 April 2005

The Marshall Islands has completed talks with Pacific Islands Forum representatives on the draft "Pacific Plan", becoming the ninth of 16 Forum member countries to hold a national consultation on the draft plan

The Forum's Secretary General, Greg Urwin, who flew to Majuro this week with other Forum officials, described the document as the Pacific's new roadmap and said the round of discussions were very important.

He noted that the United States-affiliated Marshall Islands, Palau and Federated States of Micronesia are the newest members of the Forum and historically have been focused on their close relationships with the U.S.

The Marshall Islands Chief Secretary, Robert Muller, says the U.S.-affiliated islands had been a bit "leery" about the relationship with the Forum in their early days of membership in the mid-1990s.

But he said that was changing because the north Pacific islands can't be isolated on many of the regional issues.

The draft will go to heads of state for approval at the annual Forum meeting in Papua New Guinea later this year.