Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum before their retreat yesterday at the Taumeasina Island Resort
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – SATURDAY 09 SEPTEMBER 2017: The 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders conference on the theme: The Blue Pacific – Our Sea Of Islands – Our Security Through Sustainable Development, Management And Conservation” has been hailed as a success.
At around 8.00 pm last night, PIF leaders finally reached a conclusion on issues raised during the week long meetings prior to the official meeting of Forum leaders between Wednesday and Friday.
The Leaders took a break around 6.00pm yesterday for the closing ceremony before resuming their deliberations.
The PIF Chairman, Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor then fronted a press conference.
Tuilaepa said the meeting was successful as all PIF leaders unanimously agreed and endorsed issues of importance to the development and security of PIF member countries and Pacific as a whole.
He touched on a few matters such as Pacific Regionalism, Security, Tension in the North Pacific, and referred the media to copies of the communiqué, the outcome result of the meeting.
He said the leaders have reaffirmed the Blue Pacific concept which was unanimously embraced
“It is a great concept reflecting on the oneness of the Pacific people in a great continent and custodians of the resources of the seas,” said Tuilaepa.
“The Forum leaders also emphasized the importance of using the Blue Pacific concept as a very strong instrument of pushing regional architecture,” he said.
The Leaders also agreed on strengthening the maritime awareness for fisheries in respect of needs and to ensure that resources are monitored, and also welcome the contribution of all the stakeholders in the region,
He said the leaders also recognized constructive engagement of Forum countries with Indonesia and with respect to democratic elections and respect for human rights in West Papua.
He also encouraged continued and open dialogue with Indonesia and in a constructive manner.
The PIF leaders also sent a combined message of condolence to the people of the Caribbean following devastation by Cyclone Irma.
He said what’s happening in the Caribbean, is a concern and reason why the Pacific Islands have always been in the forefront of the fight against climate change.
The threat of nuclear testing by North Korea was also condemned.
“In respect of the tension in the North Pacific, the PIF leaders condemned the repeated efforts by the Republic of North Korea in testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, which poses a threat to Guam,” said Tuilaepa.
He said the threat on Guam is also a threat to the Pacific Islands region and the PIF leaders agreed on the importance of ensuring full implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolution.
“We are also committed to deregister any North Korean training or fishing vessels currently registered under any Pacific flag,” said Tuilaepa.
When asked about the climate change issues discussed and outcomes, he said “too complicated” and suggested to reporters to read the communiqué. Forum Leaders communique
Finally he said the PIF leaders had a happy meeting. “Yes, we smiled, laughed and was the happiest meeting ever.”