NEWS

‘Kiribati Will Always Remain Pacific Family’

That’s the affirmative message from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Chair, Voreqe Bainimarama, to the people of Kiribati despite its withdrawal from the PIF.
13 Jul 2022 08:27
‘Kiribati Will Always Remain Pacific Family’
The President of the Federated States of Micronesia, David Panuelo, during the traditional welcoming ceremony of the 51st Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Suva on July 12, 2022, at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The people and Government of Kiribati will always remain and be part of the Pacific family.

That’s the affirmative message from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Chair, Voreqe Bainimarama, to the people of Kiribati despite its withdrawal from the PIF.

As 16 other regional leaders gather for the 51st PIF meeting, hosted in Suva at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Mr Bainimarama echoed a message, believing that the Pacific are at their most resilient as a family.

 

“We speak more powerfully as a family; and we can only build our best possible future together, as a family. And in my capacity as Chair, I assure every one of our Pacific sisters and brothers that there is a seat at this table open to you. Among us you will always sit as equals.”

He hopes the message will reach their Pacific brothers and sisters of Kiribati.

Kiribati President Taneti Maamau had written a letter to the Secretary-General of the Forum, Henry Puna, last Saturday, stating Kiribati’s inability to participate at the forum leaders meeting and why they would not support the Suva Agreement.

In the letter, President Maamau said Kiribati did not sign the agreement last month Since then, Mr Bainimarama, as Chair of the Forum, has been trying to have a dialogue with Mr Maamau.

 

“We share a rich history, we share a vast ocean, and we share a Pacific culture that has withstood the test of time. I respect the current position of His Excellency, Taneti Maamau, President of the Republic of Kiribati and his Government.”

“We will continue to dialogue towards a resolution which formalises the deep mutual respect that Pacific Leaders hold. “A resolution amenable to all our Forum Leaders; and one that is in the best interest of our Pacific people.”

Mr Bainimarama said a key focus of the Forum Leaders Retreat later this week would focus on regional solidarity and how best they, as a forum family, could bolster and galvanise unity.

“We simply cannot make  the same difference for the health, security, and prosperity of our people, without every Pacific voice helping to chart the course of our region’s direction.”

 

 

Meanwhile, Mr Bainimarama said the 51st Pacific Island Forum was the first of its kind, in term of the plethora and nature of issues.

“Our common challenges have never been more serious and the world’s focus on our region has never been more intense.”

Kiribati had bought 6000 acres of land in Vanua Levu in 2013.

The land was to guarantee its food security as Kiribati is being swamped by sea level rise.

Former Kiribati President Anote Tong had said that the land in Vanua Levu would be used to plant food crops, not to relocate Kiribati residents.

 

Feedback: viliame@fijisun.com.fj

 



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