28 Jun 2010

Academic warns assistance from Middle East will come at a price

6:20 am on 28 June 2010

An academic in Pacific political studies says improved cooperation from the Middle East will come at a price and cautions against what he calls parachute aid with little follow up support.

Foreign Ministers and leaders from 14 Pacific Island nations travelled to the Middle East last week to meet with 21 Arab League countries in Abu Dhabi at the invitation of the United Arab Emirates.

The Associate Professor of Political Studies at the University of Auckland, Stephen Hoadley, says Pacific Island nations are being asked to support the Arab States in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict:

"We shouldn't flatter ourselves that the Arabs have a special love for the South Pacific, this is part of their own agenda to demonstrate their own leadership, and the South Pacific, if it plays its cards carefully, it can benefit mutually from this relationship."

Mr Hoadley says the experience of China's intervention in the Pacific, with some projects now in decline, suggests the details of aid offered should be carefully planned and supported.