The Italian Government has pledged to convene an Italian-Pacific Islands Forum towards the end of 2008.

The Italian Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, His Excellency Stefano Staraco Janfolla, had made an assurance to the Solomon Islands Government through the Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena.

Mr. Janfolla assured that the initiative is part of the ongoing interest of the Italian government to deepen the bilateral relations with Pacific Island countries.

He said that the forum will not only focus on political issues of each country, but it will also look into the economic development and trade.

Mr. Janfolla, in presenting his credentials to the Government General last Friday, also relates the Italian government's appreciation of the support shown by the Solomon Islands government to Italy's application to become a dialogue Partner of the Pacific Islands Forum Post Forum Dialogue Partner.

Italy was one of the countries to have recently attended the forum meeting in Tonga in October last year and was represented by the Secretary of State, Mr. Gianni Vernetti.

Mr. Janfolla said that his government's acceptance into the up-coming forum represents a significant stepping stone in increasing Italy's commitment to development and peace in the region, in coordination with Italy's partners in the European Union and other actors.

He added the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Italy and the Pacific Islands countries on the cooperation program on the adaptation to climate change, development and dissemination of local renewable energy, and reduction of greenhouse gases will commit €8 million (Euros) to development in the Pacific within the next three years.

In the Solomon Islands, the Italian Government's bilateral assistance will be focusing on the health sector through the purchase of medical equipments.