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SG's speech - signing of NZ's contribution to Regional Security Fund
SPEECH BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL, MR GREG URWIN AT THE SIGNING CEREMONY WITH THE GOVERNMENT
OF NEW ZEALAND FOR THE RELEASE OF CONTRIBUTION TO THE REGIONAL SECURITY FUND 

Forum Secretariat, Suva, 29 November 2007


Acting High Commissioner Kempkers
Officials of the New Zealand High Commission


Good Morning and Welcome.

It gives me great pleasure today to thank the government of New Zealand for this much needed and generous contribution to the Forum Regional Security Fund.

2. The Regional Security Fund as you know serves a very important purpose for the Forum. It enables the Forum through the Secretariat to respond to difficult and complex situations in the region, and it helps us to coordinate and organise regional security initiatives. All this is in keeping with the broad security mandate given us by the 2000 Leaders’ Meeting which adopted the Biketawa Declaration.

3. The Biketawa Declaration is the framework for many of our security priorities. Under its auspices in the past, we have undertaken an Eminent Person Group Mission to Solomon Islands and election observation missions.

4. More recently, in the past eleven months, we have undertaken two successful Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meetings, an Eminent Persons Group mission to Fiji and an independent study on Fiji’s electoral process – all of which was paid for from the Regional Security Fund. I should also add that the fund also covers the fortnightly Forum-Fiji Working Group Meetings.
5. As you can imagine the funds resources have been stretched this past year but I am sure you will agree with me that it has been money well spent.

6. It was the Independent Technical Assessment for an Election Timetable in Fiji that recommended that elections could be held in Fiji by March 2009, and this has since been agreed to by the interim administration. And through the fortnightly Working Group meetings, the Forum has been able to keep the channels of communication and dialogue open with Fiji. In other words, this fund has enabled us in this and other ways to fulfill our Biketawa mandate – probably better than we imagined at the time of its inception.

7. New Zealand’s contribution will ensure that this work, where needed will, continue in 2008. I thank you again for contributing toward the security of the region.