30 Jul 2008

Cooks Cabinet Minister seen by some as the man to revitalise Pacific Forum

4:21 pm on 30 July 2008

The Cook Islands Foreign Minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, says some countries have urged him to become Secretary General at the Pacific Islands Forum in the hope he will bring a fresh approach at the body.

Mr Rassmussen is one of two candidates to so far announce they are seeking the post left empty when Greg Urwin resigned on health grounds earlier this year.

The other is Samoa's Tuiloma Neroni Slade, who is presently a judge on the International Criminal Court.

Mr Rassmussen says he was motivated to seek the job by the challenge it presented and because the Cook Islands had never before sought such a regional post.

And he says the encouragement he received from other Pacific countries that he could revitalise the agency helped.

"As Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade I have been fairly involved and I have been making comments that many people felt were constructive and I have also been involved in negotiations with the European Union with regard to the Economic Partnership Agreements, so I think one of the things I don't quite see but some others see is I am a Pacific person and I have the passion for the region."