7 Aug 2008

Pacific NGO deny reports of Forum boycott

2:06 pm on 7 August 2008

Pacific non-government organisation leaders want to make it clear they are not boycotting the Pacific Islands Forum summit despite earlier claims in the media.

But they are upset that communiques they have prepared over the past three years and given to the Forum leadership appear to have been ignored.

However a spokesman for the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs, or PIANGO, Katabwena Tawaka, says they recognize it's vital to maintain links with the political leaders.

He says they will no longer issue a communique but will look at other ways of getting their message across.

"One is the [Forum's] liaison officer, who is on a very low level, putting that position into an advisor position. That could be an avenue for us. Two is to work with affiliates at national level to try to get into the foreign affairs or get into the government level where they can discuss with leaders at national level. Three to keep trying on our policy at regional level which we are trying to do now."

PIANGO holds its three-yearly council meeting in Auckland on Sunday and Monday.