Concerns ahead of the Pacific Island Forum

It is extremely concerning that Kiribati is not attending the Pacific Island Forum, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“The Prime Minister has, for some weeks, said the appropriate place to discuss matters relating to security in the Pacific was at the Forum where Pacific Island nations, including, New Zealand and Australia, could express and form a common position.  

“The Pacific Island Forum has been heralded as being an opportunity to patch up disagreements among the nations in attendance. But the breakdown of the Suva agreement before the Forum is extremely concerning.

“The withdrawal from this meeting by Kiribati means there is a great deal of work to do to restore the solidity and credibility of the Forum for it to be an authoritative voice on Pacific issues and concerns.

“The Prime Minister should concentrate her efforts this week on resolving the issues that have seen Kiribati withdraw from the forum. Failure to do so will render the Forum a toothless organisation.”