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Statement from PIFS chairman and Tuvalu PM Kausea Natano
As Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, I am pleased to provide this update regarding progress towards restoring the solidarity of the Pacific Islands Forum Family.
Since the decision of Micronesian Leaders on 08 February 2021 to initiate withdrawal from the Pacific Islands Forum, all Forum Leaders have worked together to find ways to address the concerns of the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit, and to restore and strengthen the cohesion and harmony of our Blue Pacific Continent.
Forum Leaders established in March 2021 a Political Dialogue Mechanism as the avenue to pursue open and frank political exchanges between Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit at the highest political level. Pacific Islands Forum Leaders are represented by the Forum Troika Plus comprising the Forum Troika Leaders of Tuvalu, Nauru, and Fiji, as well as Papua New Guinea and Samoa as the representatives of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Polynesian Leaders Group respectively.
The Opening Dialogue with the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit was convened virtually on 26 April 2021. It was an opportunity for the Forum to directly express to the Micronesian Leaders our regret and apologies for the current circumstances facing our Forum family, following the selection of the new Secretary General during the Forum Leaders Special retreat earlier this year.
Whilst there remain issues to be addressed, I am heartened by the commitment of the political leadership of the Pacific Islands Forum to work together to ensure and safeguard our regional unity, taking into consideration the grave challenges ahead of us all. More so, I am touched by and thankful for the way our Micronesian leaders expressed their understanding of regional solidarity while seeking an amicable way forward to this impasse.
I remain hopeful that our journey towards reconciliation with our brothers and sisters from Micronesia will in turn strengthen our Blue Pacific continent for present and future generations.
The next dialogue between the Forum Troika Plus and the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit is scheduled for early May 2021.
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