Appointing a new secretary general for the Pacific Forum has been a divisive issue

A tourist boat at a wharf in Palau Photo: RNZI. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NGERULMUD, Jan 30, 2021, RNZ. The new president of Palau is standing by an ultimatum issued by Micronesian leaders over the top job in the Pacific Islands Forum, Radio New Zealand reported.

Appointing a new Secretary General for the forum has been a divisive issue with Surangel Whipps Junior’s predecessor, Tommy Remengesau, issuing the ultimatum for the role to go to a candidate from Micronesia.

The former president and other Micronesian leaders had threatened to leave the Forum if the role went elsewhere saying there was a gentleman’s agreement to rotate the post by sub-region.

This week, in his first press conference, Whipps remained adamant Micronesia needed their concerns addressed.

“If we cannot honour our commitments we need to think about other alternatives which is we need to move out of this relationship.

“Those commitments are based on trust and it’s important as leaders in the Pacific to build on that trust and once that trust is broken, maybe we need to take a different direction.”

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