Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:32 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:32 | SYDNEY

Principal leadership or regional cooperation?


Jenny Hayward-Jones


25 February 2008 15:31

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has praised Australia’s 'principal leadership' in the region, especially in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and East Timor.  The AUSMIN 2008 Joint Communiqué, however has a softer reference to the 'important role' of the Pacific Islands Forum in promoting regional stability. 

Following on from the emphasis on the regional nature of RAMSI in the 22 February Honiara meeting of the Forum Ministerial Standing Committee on RAMSI, are we seeing new evidence from the Rudd Government of a preference for regional consultation and cooperation over Australia’s 'principal leadership' in the Pacific or is this just cautious communiqué language from a foreign minister new to the difficult security challenges of the region?  Either way, the Pacific Islands Forum should be pleased with the new rhetoric coming from Canberra.