The Pacific Islands (PIF) Forum Leaders meeting ended on a high note last night, with full restoration of the unity of our Pacific Vuvale. The meeting was framed under the theme “Reflection, Renewal, Celebration”. The Pacific leaders have expressed their heartfelt appreciation to our Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka for his remarkable leadership in rebuilding the Pacific family’s unity in such a short span of time, since he assumed the role of the PIF chairmanship. “I congratulate Prime Minister Rabuka that as soon as he assumed office his first mission was to restore the solidarity and unity of the Forum family. He did that remarkably well and successfully. “Including resolving the issues around the University of the South Pacific (USP) and also his role in bringing together and restoring the unity of the Pacific Islands Forum. Prime Minister Rabuka also acknowledged everyone who has contributed towards making this week’s Forum meeting a memorable one for our Pacific family. “We cannot say thank you enough to Prime Minister Rabuka for restoring the unity and solidarity of the Pacific family,” SG Puna said.On Australia’s bid to host COP 31 in partnership with the Pacific region, the Forum will work together to advocate for and support Australia in this joint bid. Prime Minister Rabuka highlighted that there is a possibility for the establishment of a permanent Pacific Islands Forum special envoy office in the United States.The Regional Seasonal Workers Scheme and the Forum looks forward for further discussions on the challenges and opportunities of the Scheme. “It is the duty and obligation of future members and leaders of the Forum to ensure the unity remains and our family remains intact. On the transition of the Forum Chair, Prime Minister Rabuka said, “As I handover the baton, I know that we are in good hands as we paddle our Drua to achieve our collective aspirations.” In his remarks Prime Minister Mark Brown acknowledged Prime Minister Rabuka for his tremendous leadership shown as the chair of our Forum. “We have reflected on what it means to be a Forum Family and the importance of protecting our own solidarity and we have renewed our collective commitment to the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. “I speak for all the leaders when I say the solidarity of Pacific family has been fully restored,” said PM Rabuka.At a joint press conference, Prime Minister Rabuka said he was honored to serve as the chair for the PIF. He congratulated his counterpart, Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Mark Brown for assuming his role as the incoming chair of the Forum and reaffirmed Fiji’s continued support to the Pacific Vuvale. The Pacific leaders welcomed the signing of Suva Agreement by President of Kiribati His Excellency Taneti Maamau and thanked him for his decisive actions.He thanked all the Pacific leaders for their impressive support and for the good work done by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. “It is a day we must be proud of as a region where we are today. “Thank you to the Government of Fiji for hosting this beautiful retreat.” The two day meeting also discussed a range of specific country initiatives that were tabled by Leaders, and these included: “Our Tongan community carried that welcoming ceremony so well assisted by our Fijian community.
“And to see Prime Minister Rabuka emotionally affected by that welcome ceremony was an indication to the success of the mission in Kiribati. “I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Brown for assuming the role of the chair, he has some big shoes to fill. “The number of successful outcomes that Prime Minister Rabuka has achieved in a short time has been nothing short of remarkable. Prime Minister Rabuka made some important announcements on the key outcomes of the two days Forum leaders meeting held in Nadi.“Before Prime Minister Rabuka embarked on his mission to Kiribati we felt it appropriate to welcome him formally to the position of Forum chair at the secretariat. “So thank you very much Prime Minister Rabuka for your leadership and I look forward for the next 12 months or so as the chair of our Pacific Islands Forum. Elaborating further on the positive outcomes of the meeting, SG Puna said the Forum now has a clear direction to operationalize the Suva Agreement. The Secretary General (SG) of Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Henry Puna also conveyed his heartfelt appreciation to Prime Minister Rabuka for his unwavering commitment and exceptional achievements as the Forum chair.


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