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Samoa capital Apia set to host regional conferences

Samoa's capital Apia is set to play host to two regional conferences this month heralded by the Forum Foreign Ministers Conference on August 10.

It is understood the meeting next Friday by the foreign ministers, who will be representing the members of the Pacific Islands Forum, will meet to set the agenda for next month’s 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit in Nauru.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters is expected to join his colleagues in Apia with Prime Minister Tuilepa Sailele Malielegaoi indicating recently that he was looking forwarding to meeting Peters.

“I look forward to talking to Winston Peters, when he lands here in a few days’ time. I have a very long list of very tiny projects which will make his visit more exciting,” said the Prime Minister at a reception last Friday, to mark the 56th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand.

Samoa is the current chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and will hand over the leadership to Nauru when the Leaders Summit gets underway from September 1-9. Nauru has come under a lot of international criticism in the last month over its decision to ban Australian public broadcaster, Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) from the leaders summit.

Peters visit to Samoa for the Forum Foreign Ministers Conference comes on the back of the New Zealand’s announcement of its Pacific Reset Policy, which would see $714 million (US$485 million) in aid going to the region over the next four years.

The region’s trade ministers will also meet in Apia with the discussions expected to focus on the Pacific African Caribbean Pacific Group of States (PACP) and European Union (EU) trade negotiations. It is understood the trade ministers will attempt to reach a common ground before they enter into negotiations with the ACP and EU.

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