Wednesday, July 29, 2009

UK Foreign Office Minister to tour Papua New Guinea and Asia Pacific region

UK Foreign Office Minister, Chris Bryant (pictured), is making his first ministerial visit to the Asia-Pacific region from July 26 to August 7 visiting Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.

His visit to PNG on August 3-4 will include meetings with the Government of PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government, international partners, civil society and commerce.

During his official two-day visit he will also deliver a keynote speech to the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce entitled "The UK and PNG - Partners in a Globalised World", launch UK involvement in the Meri Seif Project which includes the unveiling of the British High Commission as a Meri Seif Ples.

He will also visit Anglicare Stop Aids, meet with Carteret Islanders for an update on their relocation programme and have a round table discussion on climate change with civil society representatives.

He will then travel from Port Moresby to Cairns on August 4 to represent the British Government in discussions at the annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum.

 He will carry a message of support for Pacific Island states - particularly vulnerable to and amongst the least responsible for climate change - as they use their collective voice to urge developed nations to reduce global emissions at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

 The Minister will also discuss the situation in Fiji.

Chris Bryant said: "We're not about to underestimate the importance that PNG and Asia-Pacific voices are likely to have in Copenhagen in December.

“Low-lying Pacific Island nations can be influential in particular - each has a voice at this important summit and stand to suffer terribly from a changing climate.

“We will pull together with them and other like-minded nations.

“As a friend of Fiji too, the UK is deeply concerned about the damaging effects military rule is having on its people and I am especially worried about increasing reports of human rights abuses.

“I will be discussing with international partners at the Forum how we can work together best to help Fiji make an early return to civilian democracy."

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