FIJI TO HOST U.S.-PACIFIC FISHING TREATY NEGOTIATIONS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 25, 2001 - PINA Nius Online)---The second round of negotiations on extension of the United States Multilateral Fisheries Treaty with the Pacific Islands will be held in Fiji next month, the Fiji government announced.

The United States had been scheduled to host this round of negotiations, but is not able to do so following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Fiji has stepped in to help and now will host the negotiations, a Ministry of Information statement said.

The Ministry of Information said the Cabinet gave its approval following a submission by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Kaliopate Tavola.

The cost will be met by the United States government through its treaty budget administered by the Forum Fisheries Agency, the Ministry of Information said.

There will be no additional cost to the Fiji government, except for minor host obligations such as protocol, reception and transport, it said. This will be met from existing budgetary provisions.

The meeting will be held in western Fiji, in the Nadi International Airport area.

In briefing the Cabinet, Mr. Tavola said that the present treaty between the Pacific Island parties, comprised of the 16 member countries of the Forum Fisheries Agency and the United States of America, commenced in 1987 and ended on June 14, 1993.

The treaty was extended for another ten years from June 15, 1993 and will expire on June 14, 2003.

Mr. Tavola said that the future of the treaty is now being negotiated between the parties. In accordance with the negotiation timetable, meetings are scheduled twice yearly until its conclusion in 2003.

In accepting Mr. Tavola's submission, Cabinet noted that this is an opportunity for Fiji to showcase itself positively to the international community immediately after the general elections.

Meeting delegates will be made up of industry and State Department officials from the U.S. and representatives of the 16 FFA member countries.

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

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