31 Jul 2014

PNG PM dismisses claim of Pacific Forum's irrelevance

7:38 pm on 31 July 2014

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has emphasised the relevance of the Pacific Islands Forum as a vehicle for addressing big issues across regional island states.

Peter O'Neill was speaking at the 45th Forum leaders summit in Palau at which a number of countries' leaders are notably absent, including Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu's.

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Peter O'Neill at the Pacific Islands Forum in Palau Photo: RNZ

The no-shows have given weight to claims that the Forum is increasingly irrelevant as a regional organisation.

However Mr O'Neill says Forum meetings offer a greater appreciation of the issues facing the Pacific Islands community than other fora.

"We are talking about the same issues most of the time - climate change, education, health - but these are relevant issues for our communities. The more we talk about it, I hope the message gets across to partners, development partners, communities and allthese stakeholders that will enable us to make sure that we implement what we say we want to do."

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill