12 Aug 2004

Pacific Islands Forum Summit wraps up

10:22 am on 12 August 2004

The 35th Pacific Islands Forum Summit has ended with a top official deeming it a success and a further sign of growing Pacific optimism.

A week of meetings was completed with two days of post-forum dialogue finishing yesterday.

From Apia, here's Don Wiseman.

"An effort was made this year to improve the quality of the dialogues, by bringing senior Pacific ministers to put the region's case to the delegation, while a more focussed agenda was tried for."

The delegations responded in kind, sending top-level teams; the United States for instance was led by Under Secretary of State, James Kelly.

The Secretary-General of the Forum, Greg Urwin, described the meetings as solid, and talked of a returning optimism.

It's not all harmonious; France has told the Forum the matter of French Polynesian self-determination is a domestic political issue. And China voiced its concerns that five Forum countries align themselves with Taiwan.

Next year, the Forum, to be held in PNG, will be different. It will see the officials' meeting held several weeks earlier to ensure the agenda is more manageable.

And for similar reasons, the Post-Forum dialogue could be separated from the summit, and held later.