Micronesian leaders 'pause' break away from Forum

The leaders of five Micronesian nations have agreed to pause their plans to break away from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau announced in February last year that they would withdraw from the forum, after losing the vote to elect a new secretary-general.

At the time, they said say the rejection of their candidate, Marshall Islands' Gerald Zackios, had led to division within the Pacific. Forum members voted in favour of former Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna.

In a statement, the Federated States of Micronesia government confirmed the Micronesian President's Summit (MPS) met virtually on Friday and made a decision to pause their withdrawal.

According to the statement, the MPS leaders, "discussed specific substantive reforms of the Pacific Island Forum and its leadership, and on the basis of consensus, have agreed to temporarily rescind their withdrawal."

It said the forum has until June 2022 to ensure that the reforms offered to the MPS are realised.

FSM is the first out of the block to publicly announce that it will rescind its withdrawal and that its foreign affairs department has sent a diplomatic note to Fiji, who is the chairing the forum.


Photo file  Caption: Micronesian leaders at their Summit