As such, Mr Lilo stamped his mark on the new secretariat by offering that Solomon Islands will provide the deputy director-general for the newly agreed organisation to be based in PNG whilst the host offers the director-general.
A statement from the PM’s office said the leadership by the two Melanesian neighbours helped to ease tensions between PACP Leaders in their meeting on Wednesday.
The statement said during the opening of the Special PACP Leaders Meeting, Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna recalled that PACP Leaders in its August meeting in his country agreed that a special non-formal forum meeting of the PACP Leaders be convened by the Forum Secretariat to consider PACP matters only, including Fiji’s participation.
In their meeting, the leaders agreed that Fiji participated in the meeting.
Also PNG and the Solomon Islands have taken the lead and pushed for the establishment of a PACP Secretariat.
Mr Lilo said this was a right decision as the PACP Secretariat will ensure that all members of the Pacific ACP family participate in its meetings and not to be questioned as was the case when the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat managed such meetings.
The Prime Minister said the leaders had agreed that the PIF Secretariat will continue to negotiate on-behalf of PACP in the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.
He said it was not correct to keep Fiji out of the regional negotiations with the EU when it remained a member of the ACP Group and that Fiji is the business hub in the Pacific.
Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama had also attended the meeting and had expressed his gratitude at the acceptance of his country at the meeting.
Leaders also discussed the on-going negotiations of the EPA agreement with the EU.
They noted the outcomes of the Pacific ACP-EU EPA Joint Technical Working Group meeting held from 1-5 October 2012 and the proposed schedule of the meetings to complete the EPA negotiations.
The EPA negotiations with the EU are expected to conclude in 2013.
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