Tuesday 16 February 2021
Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, today expressed sorrow on the recent decision 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.”
He however said, in the interest of regional stability, Papua New Guinea proposed 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.
“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”.
Mr Marape places 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 H.E. Lionel Rouwen Aingimea, MP on this matter.
“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.”
Mr Marape remains confident in the political leadership of the region in that its leaders can find a way forward together as one voice, to address the regional issues and development challenges that they 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, than 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 that they may also propose,” said Prime Minister Marape.