Reuniting the Pacific family’s solidarity through the “Pacific way of leadership” was demonstrated today through open discussions convened by the Prime Minister and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka with the Micronesian leaders at the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit (MPS).
Prime Minister Rabuka delivered a powerful statement on “Pacific solidarity” while joining the leaders via virtual mode for the Summit held in Pohnpei, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
The Summit was attended by the President of Federated States of Micronesia and Chair of the MPS, His Excellency David Panuelo, President of the Republic of Kiribati, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, President of the Republic of Palau, His Excellency, Surangel Whipps Jr, President of the Republic of Nauru His Excellency Russ Kun and the Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Marshall Islands, Honourable Kitlang Kabua.
PM Rabuka congratulated President Panuelo and the Government of FSM on assuming the Chair of MPS.
At the same time he acknowledged President Kun and the Government of Nauru for its leadership of the MPS in the last few years and its support to Fiji’s chairing of the Forum.
Speaking in his capacity as the PIF Chair, PM Rabuka said, “returning to this leadership role as the oldest Leader-in-Office in our region, means that I do not have the luxury nor the flexibility to make mistakes this time around.
“It also means that I bring to the role the depth in experience and learnings that I have accumulated over the years-most especially when it comes to leadership and in particular, our very own Pacific way of leadership.”
He said in the Pacific, we share common underlying values that are built around our people, our communities, our cultures and our traditions which, form our very identity as Pacific people.
“These values underpin our solidarity as a family; our collective efforts as a region; and our shared vision for our people.”
The Prime Minister said, as did many of the Pacific people, he too followed with great regret the impasse in the Pacific Islands Forum over the last 2 years.
“I regretted even more, that not more political effort was invested in resolving this impasse when it first transpired. Therefore, when I assumed the role of the Forum Chair last December, I undertook to do everything in my power, to find a resolution to the lingering impasse.
“I am more resolved now, than ever, that we restore our full solidarity as a Forum Family.
“I remain thankful to President Maamau for accepting my humble request to visit Tarawa last month. It was an opportunity to discuss in person a way forward for our region.
“My wife Sulu and I were humbled and honoured by the depth of the warmth and hospitality of the i-Kiribati people which, made our visit a memorable one- vina’a va’ alevu President Maamau.”
He highlighted that, when we talk about the “Pacific Way”, we are all united as one Pacific family, through our uniquely shared cultures and traditions.
Prime Minister Rabuka further elaborated that the Micronesian Region, “have much to showcase to the region and the world. You continue to be trailblazers and leaders in climate and ocean advocacy and collectively, you are the largest custodians of our Blue Pacific. This is why your voice is so important in our regional settlements.”
He wished the Micronesian leaders the very best for their deliberations and also welcomed an update on the outcome of their discussions to prepare for the 2023 Forum Special Leaders Retreat to be held in Fiji next week.
“I therefore, remain committed to working closely with all of you to ensure that we have a clear way forward that enjoys the support of all Forum members next week. I look forward to welcoming you all in person in Fiji next week, where I hope we will all celebrate the dawn of a new era for our Pacific Islands Forum.”
In response, President Panuelo commended Prime Minister Rabuka for his exemplary leadership and great commitment to reunite the Pacific family.
He said the Micronesian leaders are sincerely grateful to Prime Minister Rabuka for his unwavering support and they looked forward to working closely with him in building a strong and unified Pacific.