Pacific Islands Forum Chair welcomes Micronesia position

The Pacific Islands Forum Chair, Acting Prime Minister of Fiji  Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says the temporary suspension of the FSM withdrawal from the Pacific Islands Forum will help the ongoing discussions towards a resolution. 

Acting PM Sayed-Khaiyum said the temporary suspension of withdrawal from the Pacific Islands Forum, “is a positive development that is testament to the ongoing value of our Pacific Way, leadership and dialogue.”

The temporary suspension, which President Panuelo’s statement noted as June 2022, “now allows us the time we need to progress and finalise our ongoing discussions,” said the statement.

The statement did not respond to information released by the Micronesia President to media this week revealing a deal involving the exit of current Secretary General Henry Puna from the forum to halt the departure of the five Micronesia members.  

The Forum has kept details of the negotiations process closed, saying findings have to go before Forum Leaders first. The news from Panuelo revealed Puna may leave the Forum keeping his role as the Pacific Oceans Commissioner. He has been widely advocacting the Oceans work and was in France this month for the French President’s Oceans Summit. The appointment process was also covered in the interview, with signs pointing to voting on nominations by subregional rotation beginning with Micronesia. 

The Forum statement did not cover any of those revelations, and it is likely there will not be any details until the Leaders meeting. 

“The solidarity of our Forum Family is and has always been our priority and we remain committed to working towards an outcome that considers the views of all Forum Leaders. Whilst I am very encouraged by the latest discussions towards a resolution, I also recognise and respect the sensitivities and fluidity of the ongoing political process, which will require the consideration and decision of all Forum Leaders,” said the PIF Chair.

The statement confirmed Forum Leaders will meet in a Special Leaders Retreat next month, “to collectively discuss and agree on immediate next steps. This meeting will be followed by a face-to-face Forum Leaders Meeting to take place in the middle of the year in Suva, Fiji.”