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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Fiji PM Reiterates PACP Independence From Pacific Forum
Bainimarama claims Forum failed to equally serve Fiji

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 3, 2012) – Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is calling on the Pacific Islands Forum not to misrepresent a key decision made at the Special Leaders Meeting held in Port Moresby last month to separate the forum and the Pacific African-Caribbean-Pacific States (PACP).

The outcomes document released by the forum secretariat reported that Papua New Guinea will host a secretariat for PACP Leaders meetings only, and that the Forum Secretariat will continue its duties for other PACP activities and meetings.

Bainimarama in a statement said the PACP leaders had decided that there would be a complete separation between the forum secretariat and the PACP while PNG offered to host and fund a full PACP Secretariat, until 2014, which will be responsible for all PACP related matters and activities.

He said the decision was made in large part to facilitate Fiji's full and regularized participation in PACP meetings at all levels.

"In their capacity as the secretariat for the PACP, the Forum Secretariat had the responsibility to equally serve all PACP members. By refusing to include Fiji in meetings that we were fully entitled to attend, the Forum Secretariat was not only violating Fiji's rights, but was also upholding an increasingly irrelevant policy of isolation," he said.

He also said he has written to Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna who is the PACP chair and also to PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who will host the new PACP Secretariat to request that the Forum Secretariat correct this misrepresentation in the Leaders outcomes document.

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