15 Sep 2005

PCRC echoes Pacific Plan criticism made by PNG leader

1:26 pm on 15 September 2005

A Fiji-based NGO, the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, has welcomed criticism of the Pacific Plan by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.

The plan is being spearheaded by the Pacific Islands Forum which is expected to approve it at next month's leaders summit in PNG.

In a television interview, Sir Michael described the Pacific Plan as a disguise for Australia's intention to control the region, and said it pushed a mentality which undermines the integrity of Pacific people.

A PCRC spokesman Peter Emberson says Sir Michael is not too far off the mark in his comments about Australia and the Plan which would drive moves towards regionalism and integration in the Pacific

"The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, together with other regional NGOs, I can safely say, are happy that Sir Michael Somare is making such statements because we have concerns about the way in which the Pacific Plan consultation process has taken place, and the Pacific Plan taskforce which is basically mooted by a lot of overseas or outside the Pacific interests."

Peter Emberson says the Pacific Plan's purported vision for betterment of the region's people is not reflected in the consultation process.