The five Micronesian member states of the Pacific Island Forum have decided to quit the organisation in response to last week’s appointment of a Cook Islander as the new Secretary General.

The presidents of Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Palau issued a joint communique, saying they agree to start to initiate the formal process of leaving the Forum.

The leaders collectively expressed disappointment with the appointment process, which overlooked the Micronesian candidate Gerald Zackios.

They say a gentleman’s agreement to rotate the Forum’s top position among Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia was not honoured when a majority of Forum leaders chose Henry Puna of the Cook Islands.

The membership was clearly divided on the matter last year as some Polynesian and Melanesian countries put forward candidates, despite an understanding that it should be Micronesia’s turn at the post.

Micronesian leaders first threatened to leave the Forum over the matter months ago

Their departure reduces the Forum to 12 members, all of them in the South Pacific.


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