13 Nov 2007

US Ambassador offers help to Cook Islands

5:34 pm on 13 November 2007

The American Ambassador to New Zealand, Bill McCormick, has told the Cook Islands Government during a visit that the country is well placed to attract older American tourists.

He says they would feel comfortable in the Cooks.

The Ambassador says sustainable fisheries and environment protection are high on the list of US priorities in the Pacific and it will take resources and cooperation if the exclusive economic zones of the island nations are to be protected.

The Deputy Prime Minister Sir Terepai Maoate says the Government hopes the US can have a role in the upgrading airstrips in the northern islands.

He says these could be used as bases for air and sea surveillance in the region.

The Deputy Prime Minister says his Government is also grateful that the US is offering to help assess the most appropriate and environmentally sound options for exploring the country's manganese resource.