President Joe Biden welcomes leaders of the Pacific Island Country Summit Thursday, September 29, 2022, at the South Portico of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)
United States (U.S.) Diplomatic Envoy to New Zealand Thomas Udall arrived in Rarotonga yesterday afternoon for three days of meetings with Cook Islands Government representatives, including Prime Minister and Minister of
Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) Mark Brown and Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Tepaeru Herrmann.
his visit, the Ambassador will be accompanied by economic, political, and cultural
officials from the U.S. Embassy in Wellington.
Udall’s visit to Rarotonga follows the participation by Prime Minister Brown
and other Pacific leaders in the U.S. – Pacific Island Country summit hosted by
U.S. President Joe Biden at The White House in Washington D.C. in September.
The summit issued a Joint Declaration on the U.S. - Pacific Partnership which
articulates agreed principles and areas for forward cooperation.
the September summit, Brown met with President Biden, Secretary of State
Anthony Blinken, and other U.S. representatives. Among the announcements made by
President Biden during the summit was the recognition of the Cook Islands and
Niue as sovereign states following appropriate consultations.
a statement, Herrmann said: “Ambassador Udall’s visit is a further opportunity
to move beyond the political pronouncements of the summit and together with our
U.S. counterparts focus on which initiatives are relevant for the Cook Islands.”
a bilateral level, of particular interest to the Cook Islands will be how we
access the new funding commitments announced by the U.S. during the summit, how
we can attract inwards U.S. investment including in the oceans and Information
and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure spheres, and where we can
expand on the technical cooperation that is already in place including in
this week are expected to focus on the various initiatives outlined by President
Biden at the summit to meet Pacific priorities alongside the $810-million in additional