Sunday, October 04, 2015

Minister Pato seeks US support on significant Pacific Islands issues

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion and Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato at the United Nations

 Pacific Island Forum Leaders with the Secretary-General of the United Nations,  Ban ki-moon.
Papua New Guinea's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato, has conveyed Pacific Island State concerns and sought support from the United States on issues such as climate change.
Representing Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, Pato raised the issues at a meeting of Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders with the United States Assistant Secretary of State,  Danny Russell in New York last Friday.
Pato further expressed his desire for United States' backing at the COP21 Conference in Paris this year on climate issues that were of vital significance to lives and communities in the Pacific.
"The United States is aware of the threat brought about by climate change and extreme weather in the Pacific.
"Assistant Secretary Russell expressed his concern at the devastation caused by tropical storms in Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and the need for concerted efforts at all levels to assist small island countries in mitigation and resilience efforts.
"He further informed the meeting that whilst the US Administration wished to do more, the political dynamics in Washington does not always help the Administration's desire in this regard.
"We appreciated Assistant Secretary Russell's concern for the issues affecting our region and the broader global community, as well as the difficulty faced in gaining bipartisan support in the United States Capital."
Pato said Russell and his team received a briefing on the Pacific Regionalism framework endorsed by the recent PIF Leaders' meeting.
"Areas such as fisheries, climate change, cervical cancer and West Papua, that are covered in the Pacific Regionalism Framework, truly capture the concerns and aspirations of the people of the Pacific.
"Assistant Secretary Russell made the point that the United States is a Pacific State and hence appreciates the need for solidarity with the PIF countries in advancing issues of common concern.
"On the nuclear weapons issue, Pacific Leaders have urged the United States to ratify the Treaty of Raratonga as well as find just solutions for the people of Marshall Islands as a consequence of nuclear tests in the region.
Russell congratulated Papua New Guinea for successfully hosting the 45th PIF Forum, and a copy of the PIF Leaders Joint-Communique was given to the United States contingent.
Pato thanked the United States contingent, that also included the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms Samantha Power, and other high ranking officials for hosting the meeting with the PIF Leaders.
While in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly Meeting, Pato also chaired a meeting between the Pacific Island Forum Leaders with the Secretary-General of the United Nations,  Ban ki-moon.

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