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SUVA, Fiji (April 28, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---Expanding the use of computers, e-mail and the Internet is critical to Pacific Islands development said Viliame Cavubati, Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Communications, Works and Energy, Tuesday while opening a three-day meeting on informational technology at the Forum Secretariat in Suva.

"The impact of informational technology already is quite substantial," he said, "and only will increase in the future."

Although new technology brings new challenges and responsibilities, Cavubati pointed out that it also will make the Pacific Islands nations and territories "less isolated in this shrinking world."

It already "has altered our life," he added, directly connecting the Pacific to the issues and ideas of the rest of the globe.

Security of computer stored and distributed information is a problem, he said, one he encouraged the participating Pacific experts representing the region’s multi-national organizations, to resolve.

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