President Whipps (Palau),President Panuelo(FSM) and representative of Nauru.

Seventeen Pacific Island Forum member countries all signed the Suva Agreement with exception of Kiribati which pulled out of the regional body before the PIF Leadership meeting this week in Suva, Fiji.
“Seventeen members signed, so that shows their commitment, willingness to be inclusive and really bring Pacific together,” said President Surangel Whipps Jr. of the Pacific Island Forum’s commitment to keeping the regional body together.
The ratified Suva Agreement addressed the concerns raised by the Micronesian member countries that the regional body was not inclusive, that it wasn’t honoring agreements, the “gentlemen’s agreement” of rotating leadership of the organization.
Attending the first in-person Forum Leaders’ meeting, President Whipps said that the agreement surpassed what the Mekreos Communique was asking for, which was for the regional body to agree to the rotation of the leadership among the three subregions, for inclusivity.
The conditions contained in the Suva Agreement included having the current Secretary-General Henry Puna serve the remaining year and half of his three-year term and for the Micronesian candidate to be appointed as the next SG. There will be two SG deputies, one from each of the two subregions not represented by the Secretary-General. Furthermore, the Office of Pacific Ocean Commission (OPOC) will be a separate office and will be based in Micronesia. Currently this position is also held by the PIF Secretary-General.
Lastly, there will be an in-country office for PIF to be opened also in Micronesia. These details will be discussed between the Micronesian Presidents.
Whipps said that the next step is to operationalize the agreement and to do that as soon as possible. He said there’s a planned special meeting of leaders toward the end of the year to hammer out the transition details.
Regarding Kiribati, President Whipps said they are still hoping for Kiribati to come back and said they can always return to the PIF.
Working collectively as a region, Whipps said we can achieve much. He said we can use our leverage as a region in areas of climate change, renewable energy, shipping and others to benefit all of our people.

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