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Despite Micronesia’s smallness, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. called for the “Pacific way of respect ‘from the leaders of bigger Pacific Island nations, by keeping with the “gentleman’s agreement “that it’s Micronesia’s turn to lead the Pacific Island’s Forum (PIF) Secretariat.”
In a press conference on Wednesday, Remengesau reiterated Palau, along with leaders of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, and the Federated States of Micronesia will push for their nomination of the next PIF Secretary-General.
The issue of the next PIF Secretary-General brings up the issue of the relevance of a Pacific island-wide Forum on an equal footing, at least respecting one another’s opportunity.”
He said the success of the PIF – an organisation comprising of 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu- is always about mutual respect and solidarity.”
“The PIF is about the Pacific way of sharing, Pacific way of equality regardless of your size and that is always been the success story,” he said.
Remengesau said the Forum is always about solidarity and Pacific regionalism and based on that principle and reminded the Forum leaders to allow Micronesia’s turn to provide the next Secretary-General based on the agreement.
In 2019, presidents from the Micronesia region endorsed Marshall Islands’ Ambassador to the United States, Gerald Zackios, for the post.
Last year, the leaders emphasised “regional understanding that it is the Micronesia sub-regions turn in rotation to submit a candidate to be the next Secretary-General”.
“If that’s gentleman’s agreement is not respected or enforced, that means, just because we are small, we are second class citizens in this Forum, that is something that nobody wants to see. For the sake of solidarity and for the sake of a unified Pacific Islands Forum, we need to respect that agreement,” he said.
The term of the current PIF Secretary-General will need this year but aside from Micronesia, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and the Cook Islands have placed their candidates for the post.
SOURCE: ISLAND TIMES/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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