25 Apr 2005

Vanuatu committed to consulting over Pacific Plan but money will be limiting factor

10:24 am on 25 April 2005

Vanuatu says a lack of money will restrict its ability to consult widely over the Pacific Plan.

A draft of the document, which is aimed at improving cooperation among Pacific states, is now circulating in the region, with expectations that it will be widely discussed.

Various commentators, including Greg Urwin, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum which is driving the Plan, say it can only work if people at the grass roots fully embrace it.

The consultation process is expected to extend over years but the Vanuatu Foreign Minister Sato Kilman says a limiting factor for his country will be money to pay for that process.

"I think what must be borne in mind is that Vanuatu consists of a lot of islands scattered around the place, and in the consultation process it can be a very expensive exercise for us in Vanuatu, but definitely there be some form of consultations before we go back to the table with the other Pacific countries."