Forum Secretariat Won’t Comment On Calls To Relocate

admin's picture

Forum Secretariat Won’t Comment On Calls To Relocate Decision to be left to leaders themselves, Secretariat won’t weigh in

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 29, 2015) – The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will not comment on calls made by Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi to relocate the secretariat headquarters out of Fiji.

This is the second time since 2009 for Samoa to push for the relocation of the secretariat out of Fiji.

Mr Malielegaoi's comments have again come in light of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama's comments that Fiji would not attend the forum and neither would he join the forum leaders meeting unless Australia and New Zealand leave the forum.

"Our position is that the discussions happening at the moment are between leaders themselves and the secretariat does not comment on those matters that leaders have stated," the secretariat said.

The Samoan Observer reported that Mr Malielegaoi wanted to take this up again at the forum leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea later this year.

PACNEWS reported Mr Bainimarama as saying that for the past six to seven years, "no one cared much about Fiji joining PIF". "Everyone's jumping up and down for nothing. We will stay away until things change in the composition of PIF," Mr Bainimarama had said.

"PIF will continue this year and years to follow with or without Fiji. All we are saying is that Australia and New Zealand should remain funders but not be part of PIF because they bring in a lot of influence with their dollars when their agenda is totally against that of the Pacific Island nations."

Mr Bainimarama's comments are in line with the finding of former PNG PM Sir Mekere Morauta where he highlighted that nations who give aiding grants to Pacific Island countries are those that influence a lot of decisions made by leaders in the Pacific when they conducted a review of the Pacific Plan.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Times reported that ‘The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat's sub-committee looking after regionalism is calling for submissions on regional initiatives. ... This means that anyone can make a proposal on what they feel should be prioritised by the forum at regional level. ... PIFS secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor said the committee's work was the beginning of an historical process for the region. ... "Because it allows people of the Pacific to put through their own submissions on what they think leaders should be focusing on as regional priorities," Dame Taylor said. ... The new framework for Pacific regionalism was the result of the review of the Pacific Plan, which now sought to strengthen co-operation and integration in the Pacific region.’]

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment