23 Mar 2009

Tonga PM arrives in Noumea

9:42 pm on 23 March 2009

Tonga's Prime minister Fred Sevele has arrived in New Caledonia, where he is planning to stay for the next two weeks.

Oceania Flash reports that the visit has been described as a response to the invitation of the Nouméa-based Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

Dr Sevele is expected to meet members of New Caledonia's local government, as well as representatives of the French State, through its High commission in New Caledonia.

Simultaneously, members of Tonga's Defence Service are also taking part in regular New Caledonia-hosted military exercises, training and exchanges.

Dr Sevele is also scheduled to visit New Caledonia again in late July, when the third edition of a so-called "France-Oceania Summit" is scheduled to take place, with leaders of the 16 Pacific Islands forum member States in attendance.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to travel to the Pacific for the occasion and chair the regional meeting.