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August 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Leaders from 14 Pacific Island countries this afternoon reaffirmed their position to work closely with each other and with Fiji in the pursuit of common goals.

In his closing remarks to the delegates, Fiji's Prime Minister Coomodore Voreqe Bainimarama commended the meeting and called on leaders to commit to these same issues.

At the conclusion of the 3rd successful Engaging with the Pacific Meeting, leaders signed the Nadi Communiqué which primarily emphasized the need for Pacific Island countries to speak with a united voice and work in cooperation in advancing areas that are of high priority to Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).

The week-long meeting brought forward significant issues concerning PSIDS including trade, security, sustainable development, good governance, commerce, environmental pollution, climate change, labour mobility, and Fiji's Strategic Framework for Change.
"The Pacific Leaders and representatives at the meeting recognized the need for PSIDS to consider being a voting bloc to strategically advance it's interests effectively in its relations with bilateral and multilateral partners, including development partners,” stated the Communiqué.

"We have recognized the need for there to be a more valid and legitimate model and alternative visions, and approaches to development, governance, environmental sustainability, security, and social cohesion that would ensure inclusiveness and self-sufficiency amongst our PSIDS communities,” said Bainimarama.
This week the Cook Islands' Minister for Tourism, Education, Marine Resources, National Human Resources and Pearl Authority, Honorable Teina Bishop addressed participants at the meet and commended the steps taken by the Fijian government for reforms implemented.

 "I can see a Pacific model of democracy emerging in Fiji. One way or the other, we will contribute to that model of democracy,” Bishop told participants.
Bishop also commended Fiji's position as an education for the hub in reference to regional institutions and agencies in the country that have been a learning centre for students from around the region.

By Ropate Valemei

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