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Would focus attention on issues facing Polynesia

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 22, 2011) – The Samoan Prime Minister has raised the possibility of the formation of a sub-regional Polynesian grouping.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi made the comment during a lecture in Apia on regionalism held to mark the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The Prime Minister says the idea of a Polynesian sub-group, which has been considered at earlier forum meetings, should be raised again.

"That would focus attention on issues facing Polynesia. Besides the preservation of languages, cultures and traditions, sub-regionalism would also provide better platforms for the delivery of programs."

Tuilaepa says good examples of sub-regionalism are the grouping of Small Island States and the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which should be viewed as countries with common history or interests working together.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reported separately: The Cook Islands, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Niue and Tokelau are strengthening ties to clamp down on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which is estimated to cost the region up to 340 million US dollars in lost revenue each year. Ministers from each of the countries have signed the Te Vaka Toa Arrangement, which is a subsidiary agreement to the Niue Treaty on Fisheries Surveillance and Law Enforcement. It means participating countries will share more fisheries resources, expertise and information as well as help each other monitor exclusive economic zones. Next month fisheries and patrol boat surveillance officials from each country will discuss the specific arrangements under Te Vaka Toa with defence officials from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and France in a meeting at a New Zealand air force base.]

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