A new agreement between the Cook Islands and Australia signifies the beginning of a new and deeper phase in the countries’ relationship, according to Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.
Both leaders swapped head attire at the formal signing of the Oa Tumanava Partnership Arrangement, or Enduring Friendship Agreement earlier this week during Minister Wong’s first official visit to Rarotonga.
The literal interpretation of the document title means “friends through good and bad times” or “an enduring friendship” and was the poetic issue that both Prime Minister Brown and Minister Wong strongly referenced.
Prime Minister Brown says the signing of the document is a major milestone between the two countries.
The agreement is based around five pillars: People to people linkages, enhancing security cooperation, greater prosperity, strengthening regional and international cooperation as well as closer educational institutional connections between the two countries.
Prime Minister Brown says, “a good, prosperous Cook Islands is always good for our partners, that’s been our theory and it’s proven the case over the years.”
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong was moved by the warm welcome she received, the generosity of the Cook Islands people and the exquisite natural beauty of Rarotonga.
“It is no wonder tourists flock here, including many Australians.”.
She congratulated the Cook Islands for its Covid-19 response and navigating successfully through the economic challenges it presented.
“Australia is committed to working with the Cook Islands. We share the challenges like climate change and the economic impact of Covid, we will navigate those challenges better together.”