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By Craig DeSilva

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (January 30, 2001 – PIDP/CPIS)---Former Hawai‘i Governor George Ariyoshi Monday welcomed the heads of 22 nations and territories in the Pacific Island region during the opening reception of the 6th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) meeting.

The January 30-31 summit - themed "In an Era of Globalization: How Do We Care For and Share with Others?" - is being held at the Ala Moana Hotel in the outskirts of Waikiki.

"It’s a real pleasure for me to say aloha and welcome you here to Hawai‘i," Ariyoshi, chairman of the EWC board, said to the roomful of invited dignitaries and guests.

"We’re grateful for your presence here and we want you to understand how strongly feel about each of you as leaders of where you come from.

"The Pacific Ocean is a very important ocean. You may not have a lot of people where you have jurisdiction, but you have jurisdiction over vast areas of the Pacific and we consider you to be very close to Hawaii.

"We’re grateful that you’re continuing in your effort of PIDP to remain here in Hawai‘i.

"We place high priority in all the deliberations that you do," Ariyoshi added.

Also addressing the crowd was East-West Center President Dr. Charles Morrison.

"We’re very grateful that you could come at this time, which I know is not one of the easiest times for many of you to attend," he said.

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