12 Jul 2005

Core group of Pacific leaders confirm progress on draft Pacific plan

1:10 pm on 12 July 2005

Proposals put forward by the Forum Secretariat over the draft Pacific plan have been confirmed as on the right track by the core group of leaders assessing its progress.

The Forum's secretary-general, Greg Urwin, says the proposals are linked to the four priorities of economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security.

He says in terms of security, they want to develop police training on a regional basis, the whole regime of border security, and some of the maritime and aviation security surveillance measures.

Mr Urwin says there is currently a free trade arrangement among the island countries and they would look to develop this further.

"There's a good deal of interest in extending trade in services in that regime, likewise in the negotiations that are going on with the Europeans. Also, in terms of the relationship with New Zealand and Australia, I think there's a feeling that we need to look further into developing those arrangements."

Mr Urwin says the aim would be at the end, perhaps, to come out with some kind of comprehensive economic agreement.

The draft Pacific Plan is expected to be delivered in October, at the Forum leaders' annual meeting in Papua New Guinea.