NEWS

Fiji To Get Top Level US Urgency

Tony Greubel, the Suva-based United States Embassy Charge de Affaires, has reminded top official John Kerry about engaging Fiji and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). Mr Kerry, a former Democratic
31 Mar 2021 11:06
Fiji To Get Top Level US Urgency
Tony Greubel, the Charge de Affaires at the United States Embassy in Suva (left) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Nasese on March 30, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Tony Greubel, the Suva-based United States Embassy Charge de Affaires, has reminded top official John Kerry about engaging Fiji and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

Mr Kerry, a former Democratic presidential candidate and Secretary of State, is the first US Special Presidential Envoy for climate.

Mr Greubel gave this information to Ratu Inoke Kubuabola in a special meeting at the ministry, at Nasese, Suva, yesterday to clarify why Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was not invited to a climate summit of 40 world leaders, organised by USA President Joe Biden. Ratu Inoke is the PM’s Special Envoy to the PIF.

He conveyed the PM’s disappointment that PIF had been put aside – and that Mr Bainimarama as incoming PIF chair and Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano, the current chair, had been disregarded.

Ratu Inoke said Fiji and the Pacific had been in the forefront of Climate Change discussions for the Small Island Developing States since the Paris Agreement.

He told Mr Greubel to convey the PM’s disappointment to Washington. Mr Greubel said the matter was raised with him on Monday by Permanent Secretary Yogesh Karan at the Office of the Prime Minister and that he had communicated the subject to Washington accordingly.

Mr Greubel explained that the meeting was to prepare for Glasgow (COP 26) and for the US to work with the major emitters and economies on efforts to reduce carbon emission to the agreed 1.5 degrees Celsius level.

Ratu Inoke questioned him on why the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) was invited.

Mr Greubel said the intention was not to replicate the Glasgow preparations.

He said a few countries including RMI were added to the list based on specific areas identified as below:

  • Antiqua & Barbuda – as Chair of the Alliance Small Island States
  • RMI – as Chair for High Ambition Coalition on Climate Change
  • Jamaica – joint efforts with Canada on Global Climate Change Finance Agreement.

Mr Greubel also said there was no specific role for PIF the Secretariat seeking one. He added that he had been pushing for Fiji for representation and that there was a role for Fiji at ministerial level. He also mentioned that he was quite disappointed as the invitations were not sent out at the same time.

Ratu Inoke stressed that the message should have been clearer in the beginning with much caution given the sensitivity of the current regional impasse with Micronesia.

Marshall Islands is one of the countries threatening to quit the forum.

He demanded for a press release from the US Embassy to clarify the matter and to further allay negative connotations. This was agreed by Mr Greubel. But no statement had come from the embassy last night when this edition went to press.

Mr Greubel apologised to Ratu Inoke on the misunderstanding.

He said the US hoped that Micronesia stayed with PIF.

Ratu Inoke sought the support of the US Embassy in encouraging Micronesia to stay.

New US Ambassador

Mr Greubel said the ambassador appointment process in Washington was lengthy. He said he would be holding his role for some time and would keep Ratu Inoke informed.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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