The Palau National Congress – Olbiil Era Kelulau – has voiced its support for President Surangel Whipps Junior’s decision to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The congress met ahead of today’s virtual meeting of the leaders of Micronesian countries to discuss their future involvement of the sub-region in the Forum.

President Whipps Jr’s decision stemmed from the appointment of Cook Islands former prime minister Henry Puna as secretary general of the Forum last week.

Palau and other Micronesian countries argued the post should have gone to their candidate, Marshall Islands’ diplomat Gerald Zackios.

This is based on an unwritten “gentleman’s agreement” that the role be rotated by sub-region and that it was Micronesia’s turn.

In a statement, members of the Palau National Congress reaffirmed their support for a House Joint Resolution made last year that concluded “…there is no benefit to the Micronesian members remaining in the Pacific Island Forum if the gentleman’s agreement is not honored.”


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