8 May 2007

US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice welcomes Pacific delegates

8:00 am on 8 May 2007

The United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice has welcomed delegates to the 8th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders in Washington D.C., saying that American ties to the South Pacific goes back centuries.

Dr Rice says such days like when Nantucket whaling boats sought safe harbor in Fiji and Tonga and continuing through the island campaigns of World War II.

As the countries of the Pacific became independent over the past four decades, she says the U.S. is proud to establish formal diplomatic relations and to join the world in welcoming each of the pacific countries into the United Nations.

She says that the United States is deeply concerned about the unlawful overthrow of the freely-elected government in Fiji and the U.S. is pleased that Pacific countries have spoken with one voice through the Pacific Islands Forum in calling for the speedy return of democracy to Fiji.