US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Forum SG Henry Puna

NEW YORK (PIFS)—Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna has welcomed the inclusion of all Forum members to the inaugural White House meeting with President Biden on 28-29 September 2022.

“The current strategic environment has seen growing international interest and partnerships with our Blue Pacific region emerging and it is important we continue to ensure these partnerships are built on genuine engagement and respond to our circumstances,” he said.

“The inclusion of all Forum Members in the U.S Summit is welcome news for our Pacific Leaders, who have continued to encourage deeper dialogue and engagement from all Forum partners. Importantly, it is clear from Pacific Leaders that, having resumed face to face meetings after two years of virtual contact, they want to protect and strengthen the collective unity powering their 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent,” added Forum SG Henry Puna.

The White House meetings will likely focus on U.S – Pacific relations, climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery, ocean management, maritime security, and trade.

“The direction from our Forum Leaders is clear as they themselves have been steadfast in their encouragement of all Forum Dialogue Partners to recognise and respect our regional mechanisms including our Blue Pacific Principles for Dialogue and Engagement. We appreciate that the US came to the table prepared to listen to the views shared and is holding to those Forum Dialogue-Partner principles,” he said.

Pacific Leaders will make their way to Washington in the coming week to engage with President Biden and senior members of his Cabinet, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Senator John Kerry. …PACNEWS

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