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TARAWA, Kiribati (Jan. 18, 2001 - Radio Kiribati/PINA Nius Online)---President Teburoro Tito left Kiribati for Fiji today to hold talks with Fiji's Interim Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Secretary to Cabinet Dr. Tetaua Taitai told Radio Kiribati News that as current chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum, the president will be discussing Forum-related issues with Mr. Qarase.

President Tito is to decide on the venue for this year's Forum meeting, following bids by both Fiji and Niue at last year's meeting in Tarawa.

Fiji has indicated that it is its turn to host the meeting and is understood to have considerable Pacific nation support. But New Zealand's Labour-led government is strongly backing the Niue bid and opposing the meeting being held in Fiji because of the Fiji coup last May and the deposing of the Fiji Labour Party-led government.

Dr. Tetaua said President Tito will also discuss with the Fiji Interim Prime Minister ways of developing communication and development projects.

He said that this is the first time the Kiribati president is meeting overseas counterparts in his capacity as chairman of the Forum.

President Tito is accompanied by the Secretary of the Office of the President, Meita Beiabure, Senior Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Reeteta Nikuata, private secretary Kokeaki Koae and a bodyguard.

The president and his delegation will return to Tarawa on January 23.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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