27 Sep 2016

Tokelau happy as Forum associate member

2:59 pm on 27 September 2016

Tokelau is not eyeing immediate full membership of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Earlier this month the Forum added two new members, French Polynesia and New Caledonia, both French territories.

The president of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch (centre) with the president of New Caledonia, Philippe Germain (left) and the ulu of Tokelau, Afega Gaualofa (right).

The president of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch (centre) with the president of New Caledonia, Philippe Germain (left) and the ulu of Tokelau, Afega Gaualofa (right). Photo: French Polynesia Presidency

It was the first time non-independent nations had become full members and raises the prospect of other territories around the Pacific wanting to follow suit.

Tokelau, which is a New Zealand colony, is an associate member of the Forum, and the Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa, said they are happy with that, for the next one to three years at least.

"This is a matter that is under consideration but I do not see the need any time soon for Tokelau to be a full member. We want to focus on progressing issues for institutional strengthening before we can consider membership."

He welcomed the inclusion of the two French territories and the possibility of others, saying the more paddlers in the canoe the better.

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