Bainimarama acknowledges Forum breakdown, remains hopeful

Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama referred to the “breakdown in connections” with Micronesian countries over the past two years, in what appears to be first time since the leaders meeting started this week that he has acknowledged formally, although indirectly, the state of the Forum leading up to Kiribati’s withdrawal three days ago.

In addressing leaders this morning at the Grand Pacific Hotel where deliberations are being held, Bainimarama expressed hope that the regional grouping will make amends.

“My hope is that through our dialogue mechanism and the resolutions that we are working towards that you continue to find value in indeed belonging within the forum family excellencies there are lessons we can learn from our predecessors this week starting with the nurturing of our relationship with one another,” Bainimarama said.

Other leaders have reportedly spoken about the situation in the Forum following the departure of Kiribati including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden who is in Suva and was also part of the discussions with dialogue partners.

At the meeting as well, Bainimarama expressed optimism in the endorsement of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, a strategy that has been regarded as the means to guide Pacific Regionalism through existing and emerging challenges.

Prior to the start of the meeting, the leaders observed a minute of silence to remember loved ones including those who died with or from COVID-19 including the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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