PRIME Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo left Palau Thursday night after his bid to get Dr Jimmy Rodgers to lead the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat failed.
He was accompanied by a few of his officials while his special secretary Dr Philip Tagini was left behind to assist other officials during Friday’s post forum dialogue sessions.
Mr Lilo was enroute to Indonesia where he will officially open the country’s recently established high commission.
He arrived in Palau, Tuesday, from Cuba where he travelled to witness the graduation of first Solomon Islands medical students studying in Cuba.
The 45th Pacific Islands Leaders Forum officially closed yesterday and officials begun leaving last night.
Solomon Islands officials who participated in post-forum dialogue sessions yesterday include Foreign Affairs minister Clay Forau and his Permanent Secretary Beraki Jino, Economic Planning and Aid Coordination minister Connelly Sandakabatu and his Permanent Secretary Jeremiah Manele, Dr Tagini, and the country’s high commissioner to Fiji Patteson Oti.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said he met with fellow Pacific Islands’ Forum Leaders during which time they held a number of bilateral meetings that covered business linkages and PNG’s development support to island states.
These meetings included discussions with leaders and ministers from Niue, the Cook Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa and New Zealand.
PM O’Neill highlighted Papua New Guinea’s ongoing regional development assistance that is being delivered to island states and has seen up to K300 million already spent or committed over several years.
“In our bilateral meetings we considered means for enhancing trade and investment between our countries,” the Prime Minister said.
“We also considered the ways in which Papua New Guinea is supporting development in our broader region as our economy grows.
“It is important that we continue to ensure that we take other Pacific Island countries with us when we prosper in our own country.
“Papua New Guinea has an obligation to be taking the lead role in ensuring that these things happen.
“Through our discussions with many of the leaders of the region we are also seeking to ensure that PNG businesses continues to have access to other markets so as to invest and employ more people. This investment then generates income for nations and their people.
“That way it will continue to change living standards in their respective communities.”
During the bilateral meetings the Prime Minister took on board requests for assistance and considered perspectives relating to regional economic development.
The President of Niue President, Toke Talagi, in his meeting with PM O’Neill, expressed interest in PNG providing assistance for the reconstruction of Niue’s National Parliament building. The PM indicated his support for Niue in advancing the project and suggested that Niue develop a proposal for discussion with Papua New Guinea to secure the funding.
Requests for support from other economies included technical advice on seabed mining, and enhancing development in key sectors that include healthcare and agriculture.
PM O’Neill has invited all leaders to attend the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting that will take place in Port Moresby in July 2015 and will coincide with Papua New Guinea’s hosting of the 2015 Pacific Games.
By OFANI EREMAE