17 May 2024

Pacific news in brief for May 17

5:05 pm on 17 May 2024
Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and Crown Prince Tupouto’a Ulukalala of Tonga after the 2024 Japan-Pacific Islands Defense Dialogue (Japan Ministry of Defense/Twitter)

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and Crown Prince Tupouto’a Ulukalala of Tonga after the 2024 Japan-Pacific Islands Defense Dialogue. Photo: Japan Ministry of Defense / Twitter

Tonga - drug

Tonga's Crown Prince Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala has alluded to his father's concerns about drug use, as he delivered the King's speech at the opening of the legislative assembly.

Matangi Tonga reported in the King's speech, he noted Police had seized over $14 million pa'anga worth of illicit drugs this year.

"Despite the great work by Tonga Police and relevant stakeholders on fighting against illicit drugs, it is an immense concern that illicit drugs are being easily spread and reaching families and communities," he said.

Palau, Nauru, Papua New Guinea - vote

Palau, Nauru and Papua New Guinea have sided with the US in opposing the full membership of Palestine in the UN General Assembly.

Last week, the UN General Assembly voted to back Palestine's full membership in the global body, 143 to nine, with 25 abstentions.

The Island Times reported the resolution does not provide for full membership of Palestine, but it gives Palestine certain rights and privileges.

Granting Palestinian membership requires a recommendation from the Security Council.

Israel's Ambassador Gilad Erdan said welcoming Palestine to the UN is welcoming a terror state into its ranks.

Vanuatu - climate

New Zealand's foreign minister has announced a new flexible climate finance commitment to Vanuatu, and an extension of support to its Police Force.

Winston Peters visited Vanuatu as part of a Pacific trip this week.

New Zealand's climate change minister Simon Watts said he met with his Vanuatu counterpart Ralph Regenvanu, to ask his views on the climate challenges Vanuatu faces, and the important role the Pacific is playing on the international stage.

Watts said Vanuatu is a leading voice in global climate action efforts.

Samoa - visit

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has met with Samoa's Head of State, who is visiting New Zealand.

O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi Il was formally welcomed to New Zealand on Tuesday, by the Governor-General, Dame Cindy Kiro.

Prime Minister Luxon said he and Tuimalealiifano discussed New Zealand and Samoa's relationship, and the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

During his visit, Tuimalealiifano has visited Te Papa and the Police College, and was to meet with members of the Samoan community.

This is his first official visit to New Zealand since he assumed the role in 2017.

Niue - award

Niue has won a 'World Changing Ideas' Award.

Niue's Ocean Conservation Commitments (OCCs) initiative won the nature category.

The OCCs were launched in September 2023, and allow individuals worldwide to sponsor the protection of one square kilometre of ocean for up to 20 years.

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