4 Aug 2010

Forum summit underway in Port Vila

2:06 pm on 4 August 2010

Pacific Island Forum leaders have been attending the official opening ceremony for the 41st leaders summit in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

This year's summit is already notable for the non attendance of several regional leaders.

The leaders of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are all absent.

Radio New Zealand International's Johnny Blades has been at the opening ceremony:

"Those leaders who are in attendance are expected to start discussing some pressing issues at this afternoon's plenary session. As well as climate change, the leaders are expected to focus on the Millennium Development on human and social development on which Pacific Islands nations are largely doing poorly. The situation in Fiji, which is suspended from the Forum, is not expected to be properly discussed until the leaders' retreat tomorrow. But a proposal by Tonga's Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele to have Fiji reinstated at the Pacific component of the African Caribbean and Pacific group was rejected by the other ACP members."