PNG TO HELP LAUNCH MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD SECRETARIAT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 18, 2001 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta will pledge K 100,000 (US$ 30,300) towards the establishment of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat during this week's Nouméa, New Caledonia summit.

He said the contribution is being made to show Papua New Guinea's commitment to regional cooperation.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group - linking PNG, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji - is holding its 14th summit. The development of trade and economic cooperation are high on the agenda.

Sir Mekere said before leaving:

"My personal attendance at the summit will reassure our friends in the region of Papua New Guinea’s firm commitment to regional and international cooperation. We have always valued our membership in these organization meetings and are willing to assist where possible.

"Melanesian countries, particularly Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, are going through very difficult challenges -- difficulties created by our own hands. And it is important for us to share the lessons we have learned -- share the ideas. Maybe we can help each other.

"So, it is in that spirit that I will communicate that -- and it’s very good progress that we are making. Maybe it’s a lesson they can learn from us. So it is really sharing of information."

Among the main issues to be discussed in Nouméa are:

Deputy Secretary of Department of Prime Minister Veali Vagi and PNG’s High Commissioner to Fiji Babani Maraga will accompany Sir Mekere to the summit.

The small entourage is expected back before Parliament resumes next week.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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