NEWS

Outgoing Forum Chair Finally Speaks with Kiribati President

Mr Bainimarama reaffirmed Mr Maamau’s collective agreement to continue to dialogue and to find a resolution to this impasse.
15 Jul 2022 10:34
Outgoing Forum Chair Finally Speaks with Kiribati President
First row (from left): Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Bob Loughman, Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna , Pacific Islands Forum Leaders chair and Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, French Polynesia’s Vice President Jean-Christophe Bouissou and Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo. Back row (from left) Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeremiah Manele, Tonga’s Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni, Tuvalu’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Kofe, New Caledonia’s President Louis Mapou, Nauru’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Asterio Appi, Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent at the Pacific Forum Secretariat, Nasese on July 12, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Pacific Islands Forum outgoing Chair, Voreqe Bainimarama, says he has had the pleasure of speaking with the President of Kiribati Taneti Maamau.

As the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders retreat ended last night, Mr Bainimarama at a media briefing said he would continue to work in the coming weeks and months to work together with forum leaders and the forum’s Secretary-General Henry Puna on the matter.

He said they would ‘spare no efforts in this regard’.

 

Kiribati President, Mr Maamau, did not attend this week’s meeting after he had written a letter to Mr Puna highlighting his reason for withdrawing from the forum.

Mr Bainimarama reaffirmed Mr Maamau’s collective agreement to continue to dialogue and to find a resolution to this impasse.

He also confirmed that they had reached a resolution about the withdrawal of the other Micronesian countries through the Suva Agreement.

 

“Seventeen of our Forum Leaders have signed this document and we are now transitioning into the operationalisation phase. I thank all members for their support throughout this process,” he said.

He further thanked Mr Puna and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and the Government of the Cook Islands for their efforts to work with the forum to continue to hold the solidarity of the Forum Family.

He also thanked Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Mr Brown for joining him in Suva to meet with the Micronesian Presidents in early June, where their meeting resulted in a proposal for the way forward, outlined in the Suva Agreement.

 

Kiribati Student

Meanwhile, University of the South Pacific Students Association (USPSA) president Bate Tiaeki Tioti in his capacity as a Kiribati student said the decision of Kiribati leaving the forum lies in the hands of the Kiribati Government.

“I think the decision made by our President is best for Kiribati. There are major unresolved issues that the forum has failed to address and for Kiribati as a sovereign and independent state, it has the right to decide what is best for its people,” he said.

“Leaving the forum doesn’t mean we are no longer part of our Pacific family, but it only means we are no longer part of the Forum and to me personally, I support the decision.”

 

Feedback: losirene@fijisun.com.fj



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