4 Aug 2010

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit gets underway today

5:16 am on 4 August 2010

The 41st Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit gets underway in Vanuatu today.

Several Pacific leaders are not attending this years summit, but the incoming chair has dismissed claims it diminishes the value of the annual meeting.

Johnny Blades reports from the Vanuatu capital, Port Vila.

"New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key was among the last of those leaders who are attending the Summit to arrive, flying in to the Vanuatu capital last night. Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Tuvalu's Apesai Ielemia and Solomon Islands counterpart Derek Sikua are staying at home to concentrate on elections. And Papua New Guineas Sir Michael Somare has opted to remain in Port Moresby for personal reasons. The incoming Forum chair, Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei claims the gap left by their absence in no way devalues the Forum summit which is set to work through some critical issues such as establishing better access to climate change funds for small vulnerable states."