2 Dec 2004

Southwest Pacific Dialogue meeting opens in Adelaide

9:37 am on 2 December 2004

Counter-terrorism and trans-national crime will top the agenda at the two day Southwest Pacific Dialogue meeting starting in Adelaide today.

The third annual dialogue brings together senior ministers from New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and East Timor.

The New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, says while regional security will be the main focus, the agenda also includes discussions on rapid population growth, education limitations, and diseases such as HIV-Aids.

He says those issues have the potential to compromise national and regional security if not adequately addressed.

The dialogue process was set up at Indonesia's initiative in 2002 to discuss the major political, security, economic, social and cultural issues of the southwest Pacific.