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Vanuatu leader holds Canberra talks on trade, security

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau will discuss trade ties with Anthony Albanese.

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau will discuss trade ties with Anthony Albanese. Photo: AAP

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has welcomed his Vanuatu counterpart to Parliament House months after signing a security deal with the Pacific Island nation.

Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau’s arrival was greeted with a gun-salute, as he inspected the guard of honour in the parliamentary forecourt.

The Vanuatu prime minister signed the visitor book, before meeting with Mr Albanese in the cabinet room.

Mr Kalsakau is joined by his trade and business minister and his agriculture minister, with discussions also set to cover trade co-operation.

Mr Albanese said his government would listen to Vanuatu’s concerns as it tackles natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.

“Australia and Vanuatu have a strong relationship and a shared commitment to work with our Pacific family to secure the best outcomes for the region,” he said.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the visit would help build on the relationship with one of Australia’s closest neighbours.

It is the first visit of Vanuatu’s sitting prime minister since 2018.

The security agreement, signed in December, spans co-operation in areas including disaster relief, environmental and resource security, cyber security, aviation safety and law enforcement.

The meeting came as Vanuatu suspended new passports being issued for seasonal workers, according to the country’s Daily Post newspaper.

Workers from Vanuatu are employed in agriculture, horticulture, hospitality and tourism and meat processing in Australia.

– AAP

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