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Fiji Time: 1:38 AM on Friday 25 April

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Call to separate

Nasik Swami
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

THE Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has reaffirmed the Pacific ACP's PACP independence from the Pacific Islands Forum after a Special Leaders Meeting held in Port Moresby last month.

In a statement issued yesterday, Commodore Bainimarama expressed Fiji's belief that the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat had misrepresented a key decision made at the meeting regarding the relationship between it and the PACP.

An outcomes document released by the Forum Secretariat reported that Papua New Guinea will host a secretariat for PACP Leaders Meetings only and that the Forum Secretariat will continue its duties for other PACP activities and meetings.

"Fiji's position that this is a misreporting of the decision taken at last month's Special Leaders Meeting," Commodore Bainimarama said.

"It is our understanding that the PACP Leaders decided that there would be a complete separation between the Forum Secretariat and the PACP."

He said PNG offered to host and fund a full PACP Secretariat until 2014 which will be responsible for all PACP-related matters and activities.

"This decision was made in large part to facilitate Fiji's full and regularised participation in PACP meetings, at all levels," he said.

"In their capacity as the secretariat for the PACP, the Forum Secretariat had the responsibility to equally serve all PACP members.

"By refusing to include Fiji in meetings that we were fully entitled to attend, the Forum Secretariat was not only violating Fiji's rights, but was also upholding an increasingly irrelevant policy of isolation."

Commodore Bainimarama has written to the current Chair of the PACP, Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, and to the host of the new PACP Secretariat, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, to request that the Forum Secretariat correct this misrepresentation in the Leaders outcomes document.