The Pacific Elders’ Voice said the money allocated for the AUKUS deal is much more needed by the region which have been “crying out for support for climate change.”

“The fact that not even a significant fraction of this figure is available for the region to deal with the greatest security threat shows a complete lack of sensitivity to this key Pacific priority in Canberra, London, Paris and Washington,” they wrote.

The deal will be allocated an amount of $368 billion, according to the former Pacific leaders. 

In a statement issued last week,   the Pacific Elders who consist of the former President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Hilde Heine, the former President of Palau, Thomas “Tommy” Remengesau, former President of the Republic of Kiribati, Anote Tong, former Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, former Member of U.S. Congress & President of the University of Guam, Robert Underwood, Ambassador and former Fijian Government Minister, Kaliopate Tavola, and former Professor at the University of the South Pacific, Konai Helu Thaman said climate change is the “greatest security threat” in the region.

“AUKUS signals greater militarization by joining Australia to the networks of the US military bases in the northern Pacific and it is triggering an arms race, by bringing war much closer to home,” the Pacific elders said in a statement.

“Not only does this go against the spirit of the Blue Pacific narrative, agreed to all [Pacific Islands] Forum member countries last year, it also demonstrates a complete lack of recognition of the climate change security threat that has been embodied in the Boe and other declarations by Pacific leaders.”

The leaders said the deal put the Paicific in a greater risk of nuclear war. 

They urged the   Pacific Islands Forum demand Australia clarify what the benefits of AUKUS are to the region and how it will impact Pacific islands. 

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