Ministry Statements & Speeches:
At the invitation of the New Zealand Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Phil Twyford, and with the participation of Premier Tagelagi of Niue and Minister Seruiratu of Fiji, Pacific countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) met together virtually on 7 December. Their meeting was to prepare for the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which will be held in Vienna from 22-24 March next year. The Republic of Marshall Islands observed the meeting. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat also attended as an observer.
Ambassador Alex Kmentt of Austria, chair of the Vienna meeting, provided the Pacific grouping with an update about arrangements and expected outcomes from the Vienna meeting. Ms Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), joined the discussion to recall the historic achievement of the TPNW's adoption of a global prohibition against nuclear weapons and outlined civil society's aspirations for the Vienna meeting. Kiribati informed colleagues of the work it has been leading together with Kazakhstan to advance implementation of the TPNW's positive obligations; and all participants exchanged views on prospects for the Vienna meeting and the Treaty's future.
The opportunity was also taken to discuss relevant developments in the Pacific region relating to the region's South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty; to consider Pacific nuclear testing legacy issues; and to discuss the forthcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which is scheduled to take place in New York in January 2022.