FLNKS LEADER VISITS THE SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT

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SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji

PRESS STATEMENT June 23, 1998

The leader of the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front in New Caledonia, Mr. Rock Wamytan, has called on the Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Mr. Noel Levi, CBE.

During the meeting on Monday, the FLNKS Leader briefed the Secretary General on the Nouméa Accords and developments within New Caledonia related to this as well as the recently completed decolonization Workshop held in Nadi. Mr. Wamytan also covered his program of calls to Forum member countries and New Caledonia's interest in observership of the Forum.

In welcoming Mr. Wamytan to the Secretariat, Mr. Levi said that "the Forum Secretariat welcomes the positive developments in New Caledonia, particularly with the signing of the Nouméa Accords between the major political factions, the FLNKS and the RPCR, and France.

"We look forward to working closely with all parties and groups as the French territory moves towards greater autonomy and an eventual vote on self determination," Mr. Levi said.

The Secretary General said the annual Forum Ministerial Mission to New Caledonia this year would be postponed until 1999 to allow time for the implementation of provisions under the Nouméa Accords. The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands and current Forum Chair, Sir Geoffrey Henry, would nevertheless report to Forum Leaders in August on the outcome of his visit to New Caledonia in May.

On the observer issue, Mr. Levi said this was a matter for the Forum Leaders to decide and no doubt will be considered at the upcoming Forum meeting following the expression of New Caledonia's interest for observership to the Chair, Sir Geoffrey Henry, in May.

During the meeting at the Secretariat headquarters, Mr. Levi and Mr. Wamytan also discussed the Kanak Fellowship Fund which is administered by the Secretariat. The fund provides opportunities for Kanaks to undertake overseas training through short term placements and participation in training courses with public or private sector organizations in or outside the South Pacific region.

 

PRESS STATEMENT June 23, 1998

SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARY GENERAL VISITS NEW ZEALAND

The Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Mr. Noel Levi, CBE, is to visit New Zealand this week as part of a continuing series of calls on Forum member countries.

Mr. Levi is scheduled to meet New Zealand Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Jenny Shipley, other members of her Cabinet and senior government officials.

The discussions will cover key regional issues such as those covered in the recent meeting of the Forum Regional Security Committee and up-coming meetings of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting and the annual meeting of South Pacific Forum Leaders in August in the Federated States of Micronesia.

There will also be discussions on recent developments in New Caledonia where the major political factions recently signed the Nouméa Accords, granting the French territory greater autonomy and an eventual vote on self determination.

Since taking up his posting early this year, the Secretary General has so far made official country visits to seven of the Forum's 16 member countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu).

Following the New Zealand visit, it is expected that he will also travel over the next few months before the Forum in August to Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands.

New Zealand provides about one third of the Forum Secretariat's Regular Budget, and also contributes along with a variety of other aid donors towards the Secretariat's Extra Budget for programs.

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