Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, Tuesday expressed sorrow at the recent decision taken by the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit in a Communique to formally exit from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
“I note this decision, and Papua New Guinea respects completely, the rights of the Micronesian Presidents’ Group, to make such decisions,” said Prime Minister Marape.
But in the interest of regional stability Papua New Guinea proposes that, the PIF immediately reviews its charter and processes to ensure it is relevant to matters concerning all areas as well as a sub-regional balance in its structure, functions and mandate now and into the future.
“My strong views in terms of amicable solution is for the Secretary General’s position to be rotated amongst the three sub-regions for a four-year term, non-contestable upon expiry. This will strike a balance in terms of fair representation and composition of PIF,” said Prime Minister Marape.
“These are amongst other proposals I will be putting forward to ensure all voices are heard and I appeal for the Micronesian Group to remain with the PIF whilst we collectively work to reform it to ensure all Members’ rights are respected and preserved in the true “Pacific Way”.
“I wish to place on record Papua New Guinea’s unequivocal support to all Micronesian Island States now and into the future, and seek their collective wisdom and understanding to reconsider their decision. In fact, I have written to the Chair of the Micronesian Presidents’Summit and President of Nauru Lionel Rouwen Aingimea, on this matter.
#PNG PM James Marape has released a statement on PIF and Micronesia. He voted with Micronesia and says he remains “confident” the pacific can find a way forward together. He wants to see PIF leadership rotate. ICYMI, this is what he said to ABC on the issue last week: pic.twitter.com/W5LyfBR6LP
— Natalie Whiting (@Nat_Whiting) February 16, 2021
The Forum has survived and achieved much together in its 50-year journey and we are at a particularly trying time in our region’s history in terms of the challenges that we face.
“I remain confident in the political leadership of our region in that we can find a way forward together as one voice to address our regional issues and development challenges that we are presently confronted with.
“With contemporary global and regional issues like the climate change and sea level rising, our blue Pacific economic matters, regional and global trade including the use of our sea and air spaces, the collective muscle of our unity is better than smaller individual voices and PNG would like to appeal to our sisters and brothers of Micronesia through their leadership to remain in PIF and join PNG reforming PIF from within then from outside.
“As a leader who voted with the Micronesians in the recent Secretary General vote, I will offer them my support for their line of thought on reforms to PIF they may also propose,” said Prime Minister Marape.