Talks are still underway with regards to Fiji’s re-engagement into the Pacific Islands Forum as one of its active members.
The onus is now on Fiji to engage or use its sovereignty in choosing to be left out.
This is the view of the Forum Secretariats new Secretary General Meg Taylor.
Fiji has maintained its stand that it will not be part of the oldest regional organisation in the Pacific if demands are not met.
Fiji’s stand that Australia and New Zealand’s influence in the Forum be re-assessed is now an issue.
“Yes, that has being an issue and of course we know that the suspension from PIF has been lifted and I would sincerely hope that Fiji would re-join the forum because I think…when people asked, why is it that you want Fiji to be back well, Fiji has a lot to offer the Forum you know,” said Meg Taylor – Secretary General, PIF.
Taylor says, with an abundance of expertise, knowledge and a substantive understanding of issues in the region, Fiji is a key partner to all member countries of the Forum.
“It is the heart of many activities in the Pacific as well, and very, very important but Fiji has made a decision that it won’t rejoin and that is a sovereign decision, but I would hope that the leaders of the Pacific will discuss this when they meet in Papua New Guinea at the forum,” she said.
Taylor also alluded to the stance of Fiji has taken to remain away from the Forum.
“My understanding from the leaders of the Pacific is that they would like to have this discussion themselves when they meet and go on their own private retreat during the Pacific Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby in September,” she said.
She said Australia and New Zealand commitments to funding remains.
“It shouldn’t; we have an agreement with Australia and New Zealand that we will continue whilst Australia and New Zealand are members, they will continue to contribute as other Island countries are expected to and they do,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Interim Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum Amena Yauvoli has met with the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor at the PIDF Secretariat in Suva.
In welcoming Dame Taylor, Yauvoli said, “I am very pleased that we can welcome to our Headquarters the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor. This is the first time the leaders of the Secretariat of the two regional organisations are meeting and it ushers in a new chapter in regional cooperation.”
“The PIDF and the PIF are the only two regional organisations where leaders of the Pacific meet to discuss important development challenges faced by Pacific SIDS, for instance in our pursuit for low-carbon, resource-efficient, and socially inclusive societies and communities. It is therefore important that the executives of the Secretariat of the two organisations meet regularly to discuss their areas of mutual interest and complementarities.”
“We agreed to work collaboratively and there will therefore be more such meetings between our two organisations in the future.”
Present at the PIDF Secretariat to welcome Dame Taylor was the Interim Chairman of the Senior Officials Committee (SOC) of the PIDF Ambassador Patterson Oti of the Solomon Islands, his predecessor as Chair of SOC Ambassador Gershon Jackson of the Federated States of Micronesia, and Fiji’s Roving Ambassador to Polynesia and Micronesia Ambassador Litia Mawi on behalf of the SOC Vice Chair , Esala Nayasi.
Accompanying Dame Taylor was the Deputy Secretary General (Economic Governance and Political & Security Programmes), Andie Fong Toy and Rex Horoi Executive Director, Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International.