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Annan hails UN-Pacific Islands Forum cooperation

Annan hails UN-Pacific Islands Forum cooperation

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the United Nations' intensifying collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum.

In a message to a meeting of the Forum in Suva, Fiji, the Secretary-General said this cooperation "continues to grow stronger, deeper and wider." He cited as evidence the growing participation of the Forum's representatives in meetings between the UN and regional organizations.

"The involvement of the United Nations in the electoral processes in Fiji and the Solomon Islands, and in the facilitation of the peace process in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, are other manifestations of the United Nations' commitment to assisting the Pacific countries in maintaining peace and promoting democratic governance," Mr. Annan said in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by John Renninger, the Director of Asia and the Pacific Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs.

The Secretary-General underscored the need for an international approach to the challenges posed by globalization, and hailed the Pacific countries for their adoption of the Biketawa Declaration, which he said recognized "the need to improve regional cooperation in responding to political and security crises."

Looking towards the World Summit on Sustainable Development, set to open in two weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mr. Annan said the issues discussed there would be "of the utmost importance to the Pacific countries" and voiced confidence that these nations would "continue to be fully engaged in the crucial work" required to ensure the meeting's success.