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PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to meet US President Obama

Papua New Guinea Prime  Minister Peter O’Neill will meet with the President of the United States, Barack Obama, at the conclusion of the 10th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders.

The conference began yesterday with PM O’Neill chairing a special meeting of The Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders Standing Committee where key issues on the agenda were finalised.

The number one issue on the minds of Pacific leaders is climate change," Prime Minister said at the end of the meeting.

"People and communities in the Pacific are in grave danger and countless lives threatened by extreme weather brought about by climate change and our leaders are demanding action," Mr O’Neill said, as the chair of the conference.

"President Obama understands the position of Pacific nations and he made this very clear during my last meeting with him in Paris last December and APEC in November.

"While President Obama is nearing the end of his term he is still the President and has a great deal of influence in the global community.

"Climate change is no longer solely a political issue, it is now very much a political issue in how we save communities, and an economic issue because this carries great cost.

"The economic cost is not the responsibility of the victims, but is a cost that has to be met by the countries that caused climate change.

"Pacific Island nations greatly appreciate the support that President Obama extends to our people and we look to furthering these discussions."

The Prime Minister said there was consensus among Pacific Island nation leaders at the committee that a regular Pacific dialogue with the United States is of great importance for the region.

"The United States is the largest economy in the world, has important trading and historical links and has a great deal to offer our countries in terms of development, technology and trade.

"Regardless of who is the President next January, and in the term after that, we have to maintain strong and open relations. "As well as meeting with President Obama, leaders will meet with the United States Secretary of the Interior, and other elected representatives and government officials.

"These relations are essential in advancing matters that matter to our people in the Pacific to create jobs and help small business.

"I will propose that this dialogue between Pacific Island nations is deepened and becomes more regular."

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