Sun. Aug 25th, 2019

Australia sends representative to Palau to tackle establishment of Pacific Fusion Centre

The Australian government had sent a representative to Palau to talk about the establishment of the Pacific Fusion Centre, a facility that will serve as an information and technology-sharing hub among Pacific island countries to help combat illegal fishing and transnational crimes in the region.

Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Chief of Staff Earnest Ongidobel told Island Times that the establishment of the facility in the Pacific is Australia’s response to the requests of Pacific island nations for cooperation on information sharing to address security threats in the region.

Ongidobel said that Sophie Fisher of the Pacific Fusion Centre, a representative of the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, had an interesting discussion with Vice President and Justice Minister Raynold Oilouch yesterday, June 24, about the project.

Ongidobel said that the center is temporarily operating in Canberra, Australia but it will soon be housed permanently in one of the Forum Island Countries (FIC).

Palau, according to Ongidobel, is hoping to be considered as a permanent site of the Pacific Fusion Centre, saying that it will be helpful in combating transnational crimes in the region. There are many Pacific nations eyeing to be the permanent site of the facility, according to Ongidobel, but Palau is hoping it will be considered for it.

Ministers from different Pacific island countries are also going to convene in Canberra next month for a high-level meeting where further details on the Pacific Fusion Centre will be discussed and iron out, Ongidobel said.

The Pacific Fusion Centre aims to fuse information from open and unclassified sources within the center, distribute security intelligence analytical products, build capacity for security analysis, and provide additional support to national and regional security organizations. It will be staffed by both Australian and Pacific analysts.