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New Zealand to host Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting next week

(Xinhua)

08:30, September 02, 2011

WELLINGTON, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will host leaders from around the Pacific in Auckland next week, as the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting gets underway on Sept. 6, according to local media.

The event, which runs until Sept. 9, will also indicate the start of New Zealand's year-long tenure as Chair of the Forum, taking over from Vanuatu.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Pacific Islands Forum, which is a milestone in itself. I know all leaders gathering next week will want to make the meeting a fitting tribute to the work that has taken place since that first meeting in Wellington in 1971," said Key on Thursday.

The theme for this year's Forum is Converting Potential into Prosperity.

"The Forum has become a critical factor for harnessing development in the Pacific," said Key.

This year's event will focus on how government leaders, business people and stakeholders in the Pacific can work together to promote sustainable economic development, and build on the region's strengths, particularly in fisheries, tourism and energy.

In addition to leaders from the Pacific, New Zealand will also host a number of senior-level guests, including UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moonmk, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso and Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma.

The final day of the Forum will coincide with the opening match of the Rugby World Cup at Eden Park, Auckland where Forum leaders will join in watching New Zealand's All Blacks team host Tonga.

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