Thursday, 22 November 2012

Pacific-ACP leaders re-engage Fiji

By Gorethy Kenneth

PAPUA New Guinea’s “Melanesian Way” of successfully getting Fiji’s Prime Minister to Port Moresby for the Pacific African Caribbean Pacific (Pacific ACP) meeting has been commended and hailed a success.

The PACP leaders of 14 nations in the Pacific yesterday agreed to re-engage Fiji in the highest level Pacific ACP meetings when it next convenes.

Pacific ACP Leaders in Port Moresby yesterday
PNG also offered yesterday to have the PACP Secretariat in Port Moresby so that issues of trade between ACP-EU countries and the Pacific can be addressed at high levels. Presently PACP has been operating under the Pacific Island Forum in Fiji. PNG has again raised its hand to host the Secretariat.

PACP countries have trade and development agreements with the European Union. 

Fiji was suspended several years ago from participating in ACP meetings despite being a full and active ACP member.

PNG as host of this Pacific ACP meeting invited Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama to attend the meeting, which he accepted.

Prime Minister Bainimarama thanked PNG Prime Minister O’Neill yesterday saying that it was important to attend the meeting because Fiji and PNG were key Pacific economies in the Pacific ACP-EU negotiations, having established Interim Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) to maintain and improve preferences for our main exports and benefit from improved Rules of Origin.

Yesterday, Mr O’Neill was once again a proud leader of PNG for hosting this successful meeting.

“Nevertheless we are gathered here today to discuss Fiji’s future participation at Heads of Government level at our Pacific ACP leaders meetings following its non-participation for reasons we are already familiar with. 

Fiji being a foundation member of the Pacific ACP is a valuable player and I am certain that their return to the fold would strengthen our group’s collective approach to address political, economic, social and environmental issues affecting our region,” he said.

“I am certain that we as member of the PACP, the Pacific chapter can see our way clear to collectively agree in the Pacific Way to allow a Pacific brother that has been out of our system for quite a while to return to our village and be a part of us again.

Mr O’Neill said he personally felt that to remain engaged with Fiji is a very positive step to compliment their existing efforts to return to full parliamentary democracy.

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