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Opening statement by Premier of Niue, SIS Leaders' Summit
Smaller Island States Leaders Summit
Opening Statement by Honourable Toke Tufukia Talagi, MP, Prime Minister of Niue.
Alofi, Niue
19 August 2008

Excellencies
Secretary General
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with honor that I Chair the 17th Summit of Smaller Island States Leaders.

A warm welcome to our other SIS Leaders joining us today.

A special welcome to Honorable Pio Tuia, the Ulu of Tokelau, His Excellency Mr Gaston Tong Sang, the President of French Polynesia and the representative of Wallis and Futuna, Hon Alesio Katoa.

It is my pleasure to acknowledge the presence of various CROP organizations.

Before I proceed further, may I request a minute of silence to pay respect to the late Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Mr Greg Urwin, and the late Deputy Director General of SPC, Mr Falani Aukuso who passed away in the last couple of week.

This morning we will discuss a wide range of issues that are of importance to us. These issues are covered in the SIS Officials Chair’s letter to me as current Chair of SIS Leaders Summit and include issues on transportation, bulk procurement of fuel and pharmaceuticals, labour mobility, energy, health, development financing and meteorological services.

We note and acknowledge with appreciation the efforts our officials have made in trying to identify key issues that are pertinent to us, as Smaller Island States. I do not wish to elaborate further on each of these initiatives as we will shortly be discussing them.

I wish to stress, however, that our success in addressing our common problems will continue to depend on our genuine commitments toward the implementation of agreed collective solutions. I urge all of you to consider this seriously as we continue to discuss specific issues and challenges that we face as Smaller Island States.

It has been three years since Leaders adopted the Pacific Plan and considerable progress has been made although we continue to face a number of challenges in its implementation. In this regard, I wish to thank the Forum for its continued support of the SIS unit and its efforts in ensuring that SIS concerns and needs continue to be given special attention. I am confident that this unit will continue to assist us as we strive to achieve the benefits and objectives envisaged by the Leaders in adopting the Plan.

I trust that your stay here in Niue will be pleasant and productive.

I would like to end my remarks in expressing my heartfelt gratitude to my colleagues around the table for their support and cooperation as Chair of this meeting.

Thank you.