Micronesia receives unreserved apology from Forum

The leaders of the Micronesian sub-region received an unreserved apology from their “Pacific brothers” during the frank and open Forum Troika Plus political dialogue held virtually on 26 April.

The dialogue was in regards to the impasse that has transpired from the process of selecting the Pacific Islands Forum secretary general.

Micronesian leaders in attendance - Nauru President Lionel Aingimea and Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo welcomed the sincere words by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor, in saying “sorry” to Micronesia for what has resulted in a damaged Pacific family.

The leaders expressed regret and acknowledged that the situation could have been managed differently and better.

Forum Chair and Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano expressed sadness in the current rift and reminded the leaders that the dialogue was to listen to the concerns and issues of the Micronesian presidents and to “secure the solidarity of our region.”

President Aingimea is deeply thankful and moved by the depth of sincerity in the apologies he describes as “resonates deep within my heart.”

“Leadership is shown at times like this and to the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister of Samoa, and the Prime Minister of Fiji, you have shown yourselves to be able leaders; wise leaders, in bringing words like this to us here.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama simply said “sorry to you my fellow Micronesian brothers,” offering his personal apology as he recalls his country’s own situation and suspension from the PIF in 2009, emphasising that no country should be put in that situation.

Prime Minister Marape appealed to Micronesia not to leave the Forum and encouraged the leaders to “break bread” and right the wrong.

He reiterated his choice in voting with Micronesia at the election of the PIF secretary-general, and urges that in the interest of regional solidarity the election of the SG should be on rotation even if it was not a written agreement, for what he describes is for brotherhood and going forward.

Prime Minister Malielegaoi said the meeting came at an opportune time and granted that more time for discussion could have reached an appropriate way out.

SG Dame Meg recommits the Forum is there to serve all members and while denunciations have been served there is time yet to strengthen the union.

The Political Dialogue mechanism was established in March 2021 by Forum leaders as a way to pursue open and frank discussions between PIF leaders and Micronesia. The Forum Troika Plus comprised the leaders of Tuvalu, Nauru, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa.


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