NEWS

Puna Writes to Kiribati

He said reaching out to the Kiribati President was a work in progress and people should trust the wisdom of the leaders to find a way through.
14 Jul 2022 12:05
Puna Writes to Kiribati
Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Henry Puna. Photo: DEPTFO

Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum(PIF) Henry Puna has replied to the President of Kiribati, Taneti Maamau.

Mr Maamau did not attend the week-long Forum Leaders Meeting which ends today.

He had written a letter to Mr Puna last Saturday. He outlined Kiribati’s inability to participate at the 51st Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting and why they would not support the Suva Agreement.

Mr Puna said PIF was ready to offer their help and services in whatever capacity they could and hoped to get a response from the President as they were keen to keep the Pacific family together.

He said reaching out to the Kiribati President was a work in progress and people should trust the wisdom of the leaders to find a way through.

 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said regardless of Kiribati’s decision, the door was still open.

“The relationship is still important and we are still there and on New Zealand’s behalf we are,” Ms Ardern said.

She understood that Kiribati was also facing a difficult situation with drought and access to drinking water. For this, New Zealand announced further funding into desalination.

“We won’t walk away from our relationship; they are important to us and they are important to the region,” she said.

Cook Islands Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann said Kiribati and the Cook Islands have had a very long positive, constructive and beneficial relationship for many years.

Both countries were founding members of the Forum.

 

She said they respect the sovereign rights of Kiribati at this time and their decision.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown was unable to attend because of the upcoming August elections in the Cooks.

Federated States of Micronesia President, David Panuelo said they’ve been trying to contact Kiribati prior to coming to Fiji and prior to the Suva Agreement.

He said they would persist in their efforts and remain supportive of the Suva Agreement.

 

Feedback: losirene@fijisun.com.fj



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