The four Micronesian nations are “saddened” over the move by Kiribati to leave the Pacific Islands Forum regional body (PIF), the Federated States of Micronesia president says.
The Micronesian Presidents’ Summit (MPS) is expected to release a joint statement concerning Kiribati’s departure from the regional PIF summit, in the coming days.
But, speaking to RNZ Pacific, Federated States of Micronesia president David Panuelo marked the tone of the response from the four Micronesian members at PIF – the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau.
“We believe that the Suva Agreement, when we came last month and met with the forum chair, was a big achievement,” Panuelo said.
“It was a big surprise for us that Kiribati is not on board.”
The RNZ reports the Suva Agreement, Panuelo said, had succeeded in achieving reforms the Micronesian subregion had asked for, and in 18 months Micronesia would take on the secretary-general position for five years.
“I think that’s a very reasonable achievement, to also have a subregional office in Micronesia of the Pacific Islands Forum and also the Pacific Ocean Commissioner’s office to be in Micronesia,” he said.
FMS, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau had agreed to the terms in the Suva Agreement.
Three nations had already signed up to it in June, and Nauru was expected to endorse it this week during the PIF Leaders Meeting.
“Our preference is to humbly invite Kiribati to come on board,” Panuelo said. “When one is not on board with the Pacific family we’re not quite there yet.”