FIJI’S KOTOBALAVU NOMINATED FOR FORUM SECRETARY

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FIJI’S KOTOBALAVU NOMINATED FOR FORUM SECRETARY

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, October 21) – The chief executive officer in Fiji Prime Minister's Office Jioji Kotobalavu has been nominated by Melanesian countries to be the next secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

While Fiji's Foreign Affairs Minister Kaliopate Tavola has repeatedly said that Fiji will not nominate a candidate for the position, there are reports that the Melanesian Spearhead Group after a meeting in Nadi yesterday pressed for Jioji Kotobalavu as their nomination.

Tavola had said that he expects Australian Greg Urwin to be reappointed for another term.

Urwin's contract expires at the end of this year and he is expected will be reappointed for another five years.

Yet, the Foreign Affairs deputy chief executive Amena Yauvoli said last week that there was a push for Fiji to put up a name for the post from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Yauvoli told Radio New Zealand it was the understanding of Forum countries that Urwin would be in the post for one term only.

However, New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark has been pushing for Urwin's reappointment saying that he "has worked hard to get the Pacific Plan off the ground" and is hoping he will stay.

"I think he has done an excellent job and I would be most concerned if political maneuvering were to threaten him doing that job," she said.

A decision on the secretary-general's position will be made by the Pacific Leaders beginning on October 23 at the Forum Leaders Summit.

Forum members include Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Palau, Niue, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Federate States of Micronesia.

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