Nauru’s Walkout Shrouds Secretary General Appointment Talks
Foreign Affairs Minister, Jeremiah Manele, expressed his confidence that the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders will successfully address the current impasse with Nauru. During the Leaders plenary session on Wednesday, Nauru President David Adeang and his delegation left the room amidst discussions surrounding the appointment of the incoming Secretary General, Baron Waqa. Waqa’s candidacy had previously received endorsement from the Micronesia Presidents Summit and was agreed upon during a special leaders meeting held in February of this year (2023).
Following his endorsement, there was widespread criticism regarding his appointment due to a controversial track record in terms of human rights and press freedom. Human rights groups and former political opponents have voiced their concerns. However, Foreign Affairs Minister Manele remains optimistic that the leaders will reach a resolution before the finalisation of the communique on Friday, taking into consideration the time available for discussion and deliberation (Saturday Solomon Islands Time).
The Foreign Affairs Minister is currently representing Solomon Islands at the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, with support from his Deputy Secretary and staff from the High Commission office in Fiji. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who also serves as the Minister of the Pacific Games, is preparing for the official opening of the Pacific Games on November 19.
This week, leaders from the Pacific Islands Forum convened in Cook Islands for the 52nd forum leaders meeting, with a diverse range of topics high on the agenda. These include the implementation of the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy, the Samoa agreement, the Suva agreement, labour mobility, the issue of ALPS nuclear wastewater by Japan, and various other matters. The communique to be issued after the meeting will summarise the outcomes of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting.