Hillary expected to attend Pacific Island Forum meeting

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-8-23 10:20:59

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to attend the Pacific Island Forum in Cook Islands next week, local website Fijivillage reported Thursday.

Hillary's husband and former US President Bill Clinton will accompany her for the trip, said the report, adding Clinton will lead the highest-powered and largest US delegation ever to the forum if she can make the trip.

No official confirmation about Clinton's trip has yet been available and it may be derailed by Middle East events.

However, local residents of Rarotonga said that extensive security preparations are underway, while US diplomats and security advisers have been on the Cook Islands' Rarotonga and Aitutaki to the north checking venues.

Diplomatic sources were also quoted as saying that the US Navy has moved several large ships, including an aircraft carrier, toward the Cook Islands to help logistics, including transport between the two islands.

The Pacific Islands Forum will be held on August 27-31 in Rarotonga. Fiji's suspension is definitely up for discussion whether it is time to allow the former forum member back into the fold, which has been suspended since 2009 after the 2006 military coup.

Media reports have quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the US side wants the forum to readmit Fiji, and has urged Australia and New Zealand to end its isolation of Fiji, suggesting it is giving too much opening for Chinese moves in the region.

Posted in: Americas

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