The President says the decision to leave the Forum was “quite difficult,” given that Nauru was one of the seven founding members.
“Because we had to examine a lot of things. This was not a decision that was taken lightly. That was a decision taken with a lot of emotion, a lot of thought and with a lot of examination in regards to Nauru being a founding member of PIFS.”
The President said in a statement that Nauru’s bilateral relationships with the Pacific countries including Fiji, other CROP agencies, donor partners, and international bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations who are based in Fiji, remain the same.
Nauru’s high commission in Suva, Fiji will not close emphasising that Nauru has other engagements and responsibilities in Fiji including the many Nauruan students that study there.
President Aingimea has communicated the intention not to close the mission to his Micronesian counterparts.
The process to withdraw membership from the Forum will take legal effect in one year.
The year will enable the Micronesia leaders to satisfy their own internal procedures and laws to complete the process which is expected to involve a number of negotiations and discussions.
“Micronesia has made an unprecedented move,” the President said but does not lay blame on anyone for what has transpired to the withdrawal of the sub-region of Micronesia – almost a third of the PIF member states.
“It’s just how things have developed.”
“We (Micronesia) don’t want to see this fraction. We want to stay united [in this] Blue Ocean. Unfortunately half of the Blue Ocean is owned by Micronesia, but seems nobody wants to take that into account.”
President Aingimea said while there is an understanding of the gentleman’s agreement to rotate the SG position among the three sub-regions of Micronesia, Melanesian and Polynesia, some Pacific countries deny it exists. 2
“It’s Micronesia’s turn and we believe we’ll do a stellar job in holding that position. “And certainly the other message we’d like to send is, we, Micronesia stand together. We stand in solidarity together and we are united in the principles that we stand for.”
President Aingimea suggests the region as a whole may need to reassess some processes especially the Forum to look at how the secretary general is selected.
The announcement made Tuesday morning by the presidents of the five Micronesian countries (the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau) to formally withdraw from the PIF is built on the 2020 Mekreos Communiqué agreed to by the leaders.
President Aingimea says the Mekreos Communiqué is “the foundation” and “we stand by it.”
Photo file Caption: Nauru President Lionel Aingimea