27 Sep 2005

Vanuatu voices concern over dominance of Australia and New Zealand at Forum

1:14 pm on 27 September 2005

A high level official in Vanuatu says development issues must take priority over security concerns which are being pushed by Australia and New Zealand in the region.

Jean Sese, the director-general of the prime minister's office, was speaking after a report, commissioned by the Pacific Islands Forum, stated that the two countries play too dominant a role at the Forum.

Mr Sese says the agenda and discussion at Forum meetings are often determined by Australia and New Zealand.

And, he says their priority is security in the region but other countries have a different outlook.

"The priority concern for the Pacific Islands countries must be development issues that are affecting them. I'm sure there can be a balance between these issues and other issues that Australia is raising."

Mr Sese says he thinks security issues are relevant to the region but development concerns should be given priority.