Puna and Maamau embrace as Pacific unites once again

The 5th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Special Leaders Retreat, labelled as a significant milestone, began in the tourism hotspot, Denarau Island, near Nadi, on Thursday morning.

Kiribati, which announced its withdrawal from PIF last year, is back in the fold and the Micronesian nation's return to the Forum family is a key focus of the special meeting.

President, Taneti Maamau, was greeted by the man who has been at the public face of the tensions, PIF secretary-general, Henry Puna on Wednesday.

Puna hopes to heal rift at Pacific Forum

Among the four other candidates was Marshall Islands diplomat, Gerald Zackios, and his failure to get the top job prompted the five Micronesia members of the Forum to announce they would leave the organisation.

The Micronesian leaders believed they had a gentlemen's agreement that it was Micronesia's turn to hold the role.

In recent weeks efforts have been made to heal the rift and Mr Puna, who started in the job last week, says the political dialogue that is underway is symbolic of the Pacific way of talanoa.