14 Oct 2008

Cooks seeks IMF and World Bank membership

2:00 pm on 14 October 2008

The Cook Islands is again pushing to join the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and the Financial Secretary, Sholan Ivaiti, says the effort is being supported by New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Ivaiti says there are various procedures that the Cook Islands need to go through and criteria they have to meet, especially the islands' sovereignty status.

In 1986 and 1987 the Cooks, which is independent in free association with New Zealand, was refused membership amid questions over its sovereignty status.

But Mr Ivaiti says that has since been clarified with the Joint Centenary Declaration in 2001, signed by New Zealand's Prime Minister, Helen Clark and then Cook Islands Prime Minister, Sir Terepai Maoate.

The declaration states that in the conduct of its foreign affairs, the Cook Islands interacts with the international community as a sovereign state.