AUSTRALIA'S PM HOWARD WILL ATTEND NEXT WEEK'S FORUM IN COOKS

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CANBERRA, Australia (September 8, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, says this year's South Pacific Forum is an opportunity to advance the goals of economic reform and sustainable management of the Pacific's natural resources.

Howard has confirmed that he will attend the Forum leaders'summit in the Cook Islands next week, September 17 - 19.

He said his government attaches great importance to Australia's partnership with countries in the Pacific, and he looks forward to meeting new leaders and renewing contact with past friends in the region.

There have been concerns about Howard's health since he took ill in July after returning from a visit to Britain and the United States. At that time, he was hospitalized for two weeks with pneumonia and then spent another week convalescing.

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