23 Aug 2005

Forum mission in French Polynesia to consider closer links

3:36 pm on 23 August 2005

The Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum, Greg Urwin, has left for French Polynesia to look at how the French territory can have a greater stake in the regional grouping.

Mr Urwin is following up on indications from leaders that they would like to develop a more integrated region.

The Deputy Secretary General, Iosefa Maiava, says such closer relations raise a number of issues because of the connection with the larger nations who govern some the region's territories:

"governance arrangements for example, obviously that needs to be agreed upon, what the makeup of the bodies are ..there are groups in the region that include everyone. Now depending on what the leaders want to see, as the future of the forum, some of those issues will have to be worked through."

The Forum Deputy Secretary General, Iosefa Maiava.

Mr Maiava says one possibility that could be considered is creating further member categories such as associate member as a step on from the current position as observer