Call to defer Forum head appointment

Monday June 22, 2020 Written by RNZP Published in Small World
The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

The Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Kausea Natano, has requested the postponement of the appointment of a new secretary-general until next year’s Forum Leaders’ Retreat.

The Cook Islands and Solomon Islands have already endorsed their own nominees, with Dame Meg Taylor’s term ending in December.

The Micronesia region has endorsed Marshall Islands’ Ambassador to the US, Gerald Zackios, for the post.

However Natano said that due to the “political sensitivities and complexities surrounding the appointment of the secretary-general the Forum should postpone the decision until the next formal face to face, session of the Pacific Islands Forum’s Retreat”.

The PIF chair also said the deadline of nominees for the next secretary-general role, which was supposed to end on Friday should be extended until the next full Forum meeting in Fiji next year.

Natano also proposed the leaders meet virtually in October to either extend the term of Dame Meg Taylor – or to endorse Deputy Secretary-General Filimon Manoni filling the role as Acting Secretary-General until a new one was appointed.

He said that because of the “urgency” of the situation, he was giving leaders until June 24 to give a feedback on his recommendation,

“Should no feedback is forthcoming, may I take it as an agreement with my recommendations and proceed accordingly,” he said.

Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau Junior has made a call saying it is Micronesia’s turn to provide the next secretary-general.

Vanuatu had earlier postponed the hosting of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, originally scheduled for August, due to Covid-19 and Cyclone Harold

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