Five Micronesian nations including Palau have been promised reforms within the Pacific Islands Forum ( PIF) , including honoring their wishes that the Secretary-General of the regional body will be provided by Micronesia.
During the weekend, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) President David Panuelo in a statement said that Micronesia agreed to pause its withdrawal from the Forum.
“The leaders… having discussed specific substantive reforms of the Pacific Islands Forum and its leadership, and on the basis of consensus, have agreed to temporarily rescind their withdrawal from the Pacific Island Forum,” David Panuelo said in a brief statement.
FSM began the official process of withdrawing its membership in February last year and its exit would have taken effect on Feb. 14, 2022.
Palau’s withdrawal was also set to take effect next month. Palau started the official withdrawal of membership from the regional body, on March 16, 2021, as a show of disappointment to the selection process of the Secretary-General.
The Office of President Surangel Whipps did not respond to queries from the local media but according to his interview with the foreign media, Australian Broadcasting Corporation ( ABC) that Micronesia has been told that reforms will be made in the body including a Micronesia representative taking over the post occupied by PIF Secretary General Henry Puna.
“It’s nothing personal against the current secretary-general. It’s all about honoring commitments, rebuilding trust, and working together as a Pacific,” Whipps was quoted as saying to ABC.
Palau was the first Micronesian nation to notify Fiji of its intention to withdraw from the forum, following the selection of Puna over Mcironesia’s candidate, Gerald Zackios, to be the organization’s next secretary-general.
Last year, the presidents of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and Nauru all agreed to initiate the formal process withdrawal from the forum.
The Marshall Islands sent its denunciation letter on March 9, 2021, to mark the one-year exit period which would have taken effect March 9, 2022.