PIF Foreign Ministers re-emphasise collective decision on Fukushima

Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers at the Suva meeting last week. Picture PIFS

PACIFIC Islands Forum Foreign Ministers “highlighted the priorities of ensuring international consultation, international law, and independent and verifiable scientific assessments” in relation to Japan’s release of treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

In a collective statement at the end of their meeting in Suva last week, they also re-emphasised their “collective Forum position and the process we have taken over the last three years on this matter”.

“The statement acknowledges our role as the custodians of the Pacific Ocean, and it calls for continued dialogue with both the Government of Japan and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), in an accountable and transparent manner,” Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown told journalists after the meeting.

In attendance were Forum secretary general Henry Puna, Tonga’s Foreign Affairs Minister Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Forum Leaders holding Foreign Affairs portfolios — Kiribati President Taneti Maamau, Nauru President Russ Joseph Kun, and Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

Australia, New Zealand, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu attended at ministerial level, and all other members at the diplomatic level.

The Ulu, Kelihiano Kalolo, represented PIF associate member Tokelau.

The Forum Foreign Ministerial is one of seven standing meetings of the PIF programme ahead of the Forum Leaders 52nd meeting which will be held in the Cook Islands from November 6-10 this year.

As well as the Fukushima issue, Foreign Ministers also discussed key climate action policies and frameworks to advance the region’s pioneering effort on climate change and sea-level rise advocacy, globally.

They also discussed upcoming strategic opportunities for Forum Leaders at the 78th UN General Assembly in New York in September, followed by the 2nd US–PIF Summit in Washington DC. The discussions on international engagement and collective strength noted increased interest in the region and the need to ensure engagement that delivers tangible outcomes.

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