Pacific leaders agree to continue dialogue with Micronesia to avoid PIF collapse


Pacific Island leaders agreed to continue the dialogue among the nations to heal the fracture brought about by the withdrawal of the Micronesian countries from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

Some Pacific experts said the line on a continued political dialogue among the leaders is a sign that there is still hope in keeping Micronesia in the Forum.

In a communique released last Wednesday, the Forum “leaders emphasised the importance of developing a balanced reform package that respects all members’ equality and to which all members can agree. Leaders considered this essential for strengthening the Pacific family.”

But President Surangel Whipps Jr in a press conference said that Micronesia is firm in its position to leave the Forum.

“Our position is very clear, we are out of PIF. As far as we are concerned, the glass has been broken,” said Whipps.

President Whipps said during his trip to Washington DC, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged Palau to reconsider its withdrawal from the Forum.

Whipps however reiterated Micronesia’s stance of pushing through with the exit for the Forum leaders’ failure to honour an agreement that their candidate would get the job as the next PIF Secretary-General.

He said the exit instead brought all Micronesian leaders together.

“When it comes to climate change, we think alike and our commitment are the same, “he said.

Whipps said even without the Forum, Micronesia will lead the fight for urgent climate solutions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth assessment report said that sea-level rise could wipe out low-lying atoll nations.

The in-person meeting of the Forum leaders has been set for January 2022 in Fiji, but Nauru in a statement last week said Micronesia will not be attending the meeting unless the agreement is honoured by the other leaders.