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Visit to the Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu.



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The Hon Duncan Kerr SC MP Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs

Media Release

6 July 2009

Visit to the Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu I will travel to six Pacific countries from 7-15 July, visiting Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. This visit comes in advance of Australia hosting the Pacific Island Forum in Cairns from 4-7 August.

The Australian Government is committed to strengthening our engagement with the region and to further developing our relationships with our Pacific neighbours based on mutual respect, trust and partnership.

During my visit, I will meet with six Heads of Government and a wide range of ministers. We will discuss the preparations and priorities for the Pacific Islands Forum meeting which Prime Minister Rudd will host in Cairns in early August, as well as the respective bilateral relationships. I will also visit a number of projects funded by AusAID in the region.

In the Republic of Palau, I will meet with President Toribiong, the Minister of State, Hon Sandra Pierantozzi and the Minister for Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce, Hon Jackson Ngiraingas.

In the Republic of the Marshall Islands, I will have a bilateral meeting with President Tomeing and meet other key members of his government, including the Foreign Minister, the Hon John Silk. I will also meet with representatives from community non-government organisations.

In the Federated States of Micronesia, I will call on President Mori and meet with a number of senior government officials. While in Pohnpei, I will also visit the Micronesian Transnational Crime Unit which receives support from the Australian Federal Police.

A particular highlight will be my participation in the 30th anniversary celebrations of Kiribati's independence. While in Kiribati I will meet with President Tong, key ministers of the Kiribati government, as well as viewing the patrol boat RKS Teanoai which was donated to Kiribati by Australia in January 1994.

In Nauru, I will meet with President Stephen and Foreign Minister Dr Keke and undertake a tour of Australian development assistance projects including the Nauru Secondary School and Police Headquarters which are currently under construction.

In Tuvalu, I will meet with Governor-General Telito and key members of the Cabinet. I also hope to meet with Prime Minister Ielemia during the Kiribati Day National celebrations in Tarawa.

DK09/07

Media inquiries: Mr Kerr's office - 02 6277 4991 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555