16 Aug 2003

Forum leaders to review how the organisation operates

8:21 am on 16 August 2003

Pacific Island Forum leaders will meet again today to break a deadlock over the appointment of a new Secretary-General.

After days of lobbying, the leaders were unable to resolve the issue at their retreat at Government House in Auckland yesterday.

Australian Greg Urwin is one of four candidates for the key Secretariat post in Suva, and has been strongly promoted by the Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Meanwhile, the Forum's chairperson, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, says a decision to review how the Secretariat is operating is NOT the result of any particular concern.

"It's because there is a feeling that there is a lot of big issues out there which the Forum needs to address, to take on, that there are new areas of co-operation that it can look at."

The wide-ranging review will also look at further areas of co-operation and partnership between Forum countries.