Climate action and trade priorities in Vanuatu meeting

A high profile delegation from Vanuatu will touch down in Australia to discuss tackling climate change and advancing trade between the two nations.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau will embark on a three-day tour, the first official visit from the nation’s head since 2018.

Mr Kalsakau will be joined by his trade and business minister and agriculture minister.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the visit will give the government the opportunity to listen to Vanuatu’s priorities and strengthen co-operation in trade, security and climate.

“Australia and Vanuatu have a strong relationship and a shared commitment to work with our Pacific family to secure the best outcomes for the region,” he said.

Mr Kalsakau will hold a bilateral meeting with Mr Albanese and opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham.

Senator Birmingham said the visit was an opportunity to deepen the bilateral relationship with one of Australia’s closest neighbours.

He was part of a bipartisan delegation that travelled to Vanuatu in December, when a security agreement was signed.

“This is an opportunity for Australia to return the generous welcome Prime Minister Kalsakau and Vanuatu gave,” Senator Birmingham told AAP.

“Building on these important partnerships through these exchanges is an important means of working together to ensure a strong, stable Pacific.”

The Pacific nation is suffering from the aftermath of being battered by Cyclone Gabrielle and the eruption of an underwater volcano in recent weeks.

Fresh drinking water is scarce in some parts of the nation following contamination from the natural disasters.

Mr Kalsakau was sworn in at the start of November after a snap election was called following political turmoil.

A group of government lawmakers had sided with the opposition in a bid to remove then prime minister Bob Loughman before the president dissolved parliament.

with Reuters


Dominic Giannini
(Australian Associated Press)


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