Canada joining U.S.-backed Pacific group to boost ties with island nations -draft speech

OTTAWA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Canada Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Thursday will announce it is joining a group that includes the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom that is aiming to boost economic ties with Pacific island nations, a source close to the matter said.

"We're pleased to be part of early discussions to help frame this initiative, and I am happy to announce Canada will be joining as a full member," Joly will tell diplomats on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to a draft of her speech seen by Reuters.

"Canadians will be impacted by decisions made in the Indo-Pacific region and we want to be at the table," she plans to say on Thursday afternoon at an event hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the source said. (Reporting by Steve Scherer Editing by Chris Reese)