PNG PM As Pacific Islands Conference Of Leaders Chair: Expects More Unity On Regional Issues Like Climate Change And Security

10th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders to be held at East-West Center

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 31, 2016) – Pacific Island nation leaders are expected to discuss a stronger collective perspective on key regional issues affecting specific countries including climate change and security.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, chairing the meeting today as the current chair of Pacific Islands Forum, said on arrival in Hawaii yesterday that he expects Pacific Island leaders to come out of their regional discussions with a stronger collective perspective on key regional issues including climate change and security.

He will chair the 10th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) from August 30 (August 31 in PNG).

The meeting will be attended by leaders and officials from Pacific Island nations and the United States and cover a number of regional integration and cooperation issues.

"Pacific Island nations have a very positive relationship with President Barack Obama, and we look to working with the next United States Government.

"We have the opportunity at this conference to work with US officials to prepare for the change of government so that we can hit the ground running when the new President is inaugurated next January."

Mr O’Neill said one of the important features of the PICL is the access it provides to some of the best research scholars and policy officials in the region.

"In the past this has covered research in areas that include the drawdown of RAMSI, maritime issues, the future of seabed mining and other significant regional matters.

"This week, we have a number of important topics before us including regional safety and security and these are issues affect all Pacific Island nations.

"The international community has a number of concerns at the moment including maritime disputes, the spread of terrorist attacks, global economic instability and the constant threat of extreme weather caused by climate change.

"We must manage current political tensions through dialogue, and we must manage economic challenges by sticking with sensible financial management.

"Pacific Islands nations cannot take on these issues alone," Mr O’Neill said.

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