16 Dec 2004

Britain to close three Pacific missions

5:36 pm on 16 December 2004

The British Foreign Office has decided to close three high commissions and embassies in the Pacific.

Missions in Vanuatu, Tonga and Kiribati will be closed by the end of 2006.

The British High Commission in Suva will now oversee matters in what has been described as a hub and spoke policy.

The Press Officer for the High Commission in New Zealand, Brian Nicholson, says the moves are part of a global intitiative with nine offices being closed world-wide.

"The changes come about as part of a need to focus on other issues such as the fight against terrorism and international crime. They're part of a world-wide reorganisation of how the foreign office works. They simply reflect changing demands and challenges of the new millenium."

The move will save 11-POINT-6 million US dollars a year.