Some thoughts by Nikunj Soni of PIPP here on a Pacific Round Table meeting held in Timor Leste earlier this year.
“…perhaps the most interesting sentiment came from prime minister Xanana Gusmao, who pointed out that whilst many of the countries present were poor in terms of GDP, between them they held vast resources, whether marine, mineral or land, and that this group of countries together represented significant political and economic wealth. Between the g7+ countries, the PALOP and Pacific they jointly held significant political and economic power – certainly enough to help each other solve their own problems if the will was there.
This was the type of speech that for many older Pacific observers was reminiscent of the old times – shortly after independence, when leaders like Father Walter Lini dared to make bold global statements in order to make the world a better place. A time when Pacific islands were not so focused on their own internal domestic squabbles that they were incapable of working together to get a better outcome for all.
And here was Timor-Leste, the youngest nation in our region, reminding the older nations of the region exactly what the struggle for independence was about – the sense that by acting together on a global scale we can achieve significant results that are also of benefit domestically. We need not always be exploited by outside powers who use our internal and regional divisions to extract our wealth. We can, by thinking and acting together, hope for a better future.”
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