Wednesday, 6 February 2008 10:13 AM

Cook Islands Prime Minister Visits Honiara

The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Jim Marurai, is in Honiara to visit the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, FFA headquarters.

Prime Minister Marurai is in Solomon Islands following an invitation from the FFA Director General, Dan Su'a.

FFA said that Mr. Marurai's visit is a first for a Prime Minister to visit the regional organisation.

It was stated that the Cook Islands Prime Minister has indicated interest in helping to look at ways of protecting tuna stocks in the region.

Prime Minister Marurai was reported to have said that his trip was to visit the Pacific's premier fisheries organization to enable him to see firsthand the infrastructure and the work of the organization which he described as the region's "most important".

He said the visit also aims to highlight to both F-F-A members and Distant Water Fishing Nations the importance that the Cook Islands attach to the future of the tuna stocks of the Pacific.

He said his country has a vested interest in the future of the region's tuna stocks and believed that his visit would be beneficial.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Marurai made a courtesy call on his counterpart, Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua this morning.

The visiting Prime Minister will also call on Foreign Minister, William Haomae later today before his formal program at the F-F-A headquarters begins.

Mr. Marurai is also expected to meet with the acting Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, Dr Jonathan Austin, on Thursday.

Prime Minister Marurai will also travel to Tulagi where a Cook Islands policeman, Sergeant Rima Manavaikai, serving with RAMSI is based.

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province