FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS – 19/02/2021, Fiji
Fijian Prime Minister and Chair of this year’s Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has urged Micronesian Leaders to stand in solidarity with the rest of the Pacific Leaders in charting a way forward to tackle development issues and other crises as one Pacific family.
With plans afoot for the Micronesian Leaders to officially leave the Forum, Prime Minister Bainimarama said throughout the 50-year history of PIF, the mana of our leadership has been tested by the natural complexities of regionalism.
“Like any other family, we have disagreements but we are held fast together by thousands of years of shared culture, traditions and history and now by shared political strategic and economic interests,” he said.
“As sovereign nations with common challenges and a common destiny, we can be proud of what we have achieved together. Rather than endure meekly the existential threats we face like climate change, we have united with one voice to demand that our children have the future they deserve.
“Our voice has been strong and it is now too powerful for the world to ignore. Today, in the face of climate and ocean crisis and the economic crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon us, solidarity is still our best recourse.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama added that as a unified bloc, we have commanded the attention of the most influential nations and multilateral organisations.
“We have hosted guests who, logically and practically, may not visit our nations individually,” he said.
“With climate action finally at the top of the agenda for the United States, we have a window of opportunity to enlist a global super power in the pursuit of a resilient net-zero future we’ve all fought so hard to make reality.
“I have invited President Joe Biden to the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting this August to join our nations on the frontlines of the climate emergency. It would be among the most powerful acts of solidarity the new American President could show the climate- vulnerable.
“It is an opportunity that deserves every measure of our collective support.”
While conveying his deep respect for his fellow Micronesian Leaders, the Prime Minister said that he regretted the announcement on their intention to leave PIF.
“I hope you know the doors to our home are open to you, and I urge you to reconsider and work with all our fellow leaders to find ways to respond to your large concerns and overcome this disagreement for the long-term,” he said.
“We are a family and I firmly believe that we can make this the time we disagreed, not the time our family, fell apart. Rest assured, Fijians and your fellow Pacific islanders, will always fight as hard for your future as we fight for our own.
“Our last discussion made clear, Talanoa doesn’t always translate over zoom. As Chair of this year’s Pacific Islands Forum, I invite you to join us in Suva, in person, to give our Pacific way a fair shot to continue the work we have been doing for 50 years, and recommit ourselves to a stronger common purpose,” said PM Bainimarama.
SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS