Brazil, Cook Islands forge new relations

Saturday September 05, 2015 Written by Release Published in Politics
Prime minister Henry Puna, pictured here New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley, has had a busy time on the diplomatic scene in both Rarotonga and Wellington. Prime minister Henry Puna, pictured here New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley, has had a busy time on the diplomatic scene in both Rarotonga and Wellington.

As part of his state visit to New Zealand, Prime Minister Henry Puna signed with Brazilian Ambassador to New Zealand Eduardo Gradilone a joint communique establishing diplomatic relations between the Cook Islands and Brazil.

Signed on August 21 in Wellington, the agreement brings the number of sovereign states that have established diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands to 43 as well as the European Union.

Significantly, Brazil is the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands.

A joint communique is a joint expression of commitment by two governments to cooperate and collaborate in political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres in accordance with principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, equality and peace.

In welcoming the signing, Prime Minister Puna highlighted the concern shared by both countries for environment and marine conservation and expressed his hope that the two countries could continue to work with other countries on global challenges like climate change.

Both countries are signatories of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and will join all 193 members of the United Nations later this year in Paris for the UNFCCC meeting on climate change, COP 21.

At the bilateral level, cooperation in sports might be explored. Brazil soccer teams are amongst the best in the world and the recent improvements in Cook Islands football performance as witnessed at the recent Pacific Games suggest opportunities for collaboration.

For Prime Minister Puna, in this the year of the Cook Islands 50th anniversary, the signing with Brazil heralds the further evolution of the Cook Islands international personality, and specifically, widens the sphere of influence and engagement for Cook Islands interests.

“Global challenges like climate change, transnational crime, energy and health do not discriminate against size and have no consideration for geographic borders,” said Puna.

“Small countries like the Cook Islands therefore have to be proactive in engaging with influential countries, bilaterally and multilaterally to ensure our concerns and issues are taken into account in the relevant decision making forums.”

“Brazil is not only a regional power, it is an emerging global power and we share with Brazil common concerns in the area of environment and marine conservation and I’m looking forward to working with the Brazilian government, through Ambassador Gradilone in Wellington to collaboratively address some of our common concerns.” 

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