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Friday, February 16, 2007

Howard and Clark to discuss the future of RAMSI in talks today in New Zealand

By Peter Lewis
Regional stability and trade will be high on the agenda in talks between Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his New Zealand counterpart, Helen Clark, in Wellington today.

Mr Howard was out and about early for a brisk walk along the Wellington waterfront, ahead of a busy schedule of engagements in the New Zealand capital.

Mr Howard will now hold talks with Miss Clark on a range of bilateral issues, particularly the security situation in the Solomon islands and the future of the Australian and New Zealand-backed Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Last night, peace activists jeered Mr Howard as he arrived for a state dinner in Wellington. The activists were protesting against Australia's support for the war in Iraq.

But the Prime Minister says it will be trouble spots much closer to home that will dominate today's talks.

"We'll actually talk a lot about the Pacific," Mr Howard said.

"We have a big and joint responsibility; we have some problem areas - the Solomon Islands, Fiji in particular. We have similar views in relation to the problems of those two countries," added Mr Howard

Source: ABC News

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