Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has played down suggestion there is a rift among Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum after reports that Nauru President David Adeang stormed out at the plenary Wednesday when Micronesia’s nomination for Secretary General Baron Waqa was on the agenda.
The 63-year-old was nominated by Micronesian nations to be the next secretary general from 2024 to replace outgoing Secretary General Henry Puna under the Suva Agreement.
Micronesian nations include – Nauru, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau.
“I didn’t see that as a walk out because the Leaders would go out and be replaced by the members of the delegation, so until I hear from him. I’ve not been informed that he did not want to participate in that session,” said Rabuka.
Rabuka said he is not concerned the issue will disrupt the unity among Pacific Leaders.
“No I’m not concerned because we have not dealt with the issue,” he told journalists in Rarotonga.
Rabuka said as former Chairman, he is bound by the decision made by the Leaders at the Special Retreat in Nadi in February this year.
” I know he is the nomination that we had discussed during the retreat in Denarau and I was chair at the time. As Chair of the Forum I’m bound by the decision we made in Denarau.
The Suva Agreement is part of a pact to restore Pacific unity after it was shaken when Kiribati withdraw from the Forum last year. It forms the basis for strengthening the Pacific Islands Forum going forward. Under the Agreement, the position is rotated.
The Leaders are expected to finalise their decision on the appointment of Baron Waqa during their retreat in Aitutaki Thursday local time.
The former President Baron Waqa is also in Rarotonga as part of the delegation attending this year’s Forum Leaders Meeting.
The Nauru President is not in Aitutaki for the Leaders retreat.